The BBC has announced plans for a special episode of ‘Holby City’, that will focus on male mental health.
Airing at the end of the month, most of the show will take place on the roof of the hospital, as Dr Sacha Levy (Bob Barrett) struggles with his emotions after a devastating outcome for one of his favourite patients.
The episode will see the consultant look back at a testing year at Holby and the drama’s executive producer, Simon Harper, says it will be a complete departure from the show’s normal format.
He explains: “Brilliant writer Michelle Lipton shines a light on the vital issue of male mental health and how it can slip under the radar because of the reluctance of many men like Sacha who avoid seeking help for fear of appearing weak.
“Bob’s performance is absolutely heartbreaking and the series producer, Kate Hall, and I are so proud of him.
“We are also very grateful to Mind and all the support and advice they have given us on this story.”
Jenni Regan, who works at mental health charity Mind, adds: “The media has a huge role in shaping public attitudes, educating people and encouraging people to seek support.
“It’s great to see that’ Holby City’ is shining a spotlight on the issue of depression and suicide rates in men. Particularly using such a well-loved and popular character, Sacha.
“We know when dramatic portrayals of mental health are well done, it can have the potential to improve attitudes towards those of us with mental health problems, and encourage more people to seek help.”
Later this year, ex-’Coronation Street’ boss Kate Oates will begin a new role as senior executive producer of ‘Holby City’, when she starts her recently-announced role with BBC Studios. Simon will remain in his ‘Holby City’ role while Kate will also oversee ‘Casualty’ and ‘EastEnders’.
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.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org