‘EastEnders’ character Lee Carter will contemplate suicide in upcoming scenes.
The BBC soap has been working closely with the Samaritans on the latest development in Danny-Boy Hatchard’s character’s story, which has seen him battling depression over the last year.
In Thursday’s (29 December) night episode, viewers saw Lee leave a note for his family in his car, as he continued on a downward spiral.
He has hidden his financial woes from his family in recent months, and instead has resorted to desperate measures to earn enough cash, including enlisting work colleagues to rob his family’s pub.
As the burden of his many secrets comes to a head, Friday’s episode will see Lee wrongly believing his family would be better off without him.
Speaking of how the soap has worked with the Samaritans to ensure the storyline is portrayed faithfully, the charity’s media advisor, Lorna Fraser, said: “Given the sensitivities with covering the topic of suicide we were pleased that ‘EastEnders’ came to us for guidance on Lee Carter’s storyline.
“Increasing people’s understanding on the issues surrounding suicide, such as the kinds of problems that can lead a person to experience suicidal feelings and encouraging people to seek help, can help generate conversation and for some this can be a lifeline.
“Coverage of suicide, in drama and news, carries an element of risk, therefore it’s important that guidance is sought. Samaritans has been working with the media for over two decades providing expert advice on this.”
Danny-Boy, who plays Lee, added: “Lee’s storyline is covering such an incredibly important and serious issue and I can only hope that his journey will encourage people to speak out about their problems and come to realise they are not alone.”
Viewers who have been affected by Lee’s story are encouraged to contact the Samaritans.
“We are here day and night, to listen and give confidential support,” Lorna said.
‘EastEnders’ airs these scenes on Friday at 8pm on BBC One.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org