‘Hollyoaks’ have announced that Lily Drinkwell is set to be at the centre of a self-harm storyline, which has been devised with the help of Mind and the Samaritans.
Viewers will see Lily struggle to express her feelings to her loved ones, following the recent car crash that left her with physical scarring.
As she prepares to sleep with her boyfriend Prince for the first time, a passing comment from his dad leads her to change her mind.
Prince then sleeps with someone else, which leads Lily to feel angry and embarrassed. At this point, she will self-harm for the first time but the show’s bosses are keen to state that this is “only the start of Lily’s mental health battle”.
Samaritans’ media advisor Lorna Fraser worked with the cast and crew on this storyline and has said she “hope[s] that Lily’s story will encourage more people to reach out for help and find different coping mechanisms”.
“Even the worst feelings will subside and learning to live without self-harming is possible,” she said.
Lauren McQueen, who plays Lily, added: “Lily has always been the strong, fearless, independent girl who’s never cared about ‘imperfection’. But after the crash the viewers will see a side to her that is vulnerable and insecure.
“Lily has also been affected by the devastation of losing her mum, and Scott trying to take his own life. She feels that self-harming will help but viewers will instantly see how much she regrets what she’s done.
“I’m so grateful to have been given such a challenging storyline and having the opportunity to work with Samaritans and Mind. I hope I can bring awareness to people like Lily and to let them know that they aren’t alone.”
The storyline is part of a wider #DontFilterFeelings mental health campaign that ‘Hollyoaks’ is running.
The Channel 4 soap, which is targeted at viewers aged between 16 and 24, has previously won plaudits for the way it’s tackled real world issues that could affect its audience.
In September 2016 they began a consent storyline, which saw Nick Savage sexually assault an intoxicated Ellie Nightingale.
A Rape Crisis spokesperson was among those who praised the plot. She told HuffPost UK: “TV drama has the opportunity to reach audiences that perhaps more traditional campaigning and awareness-raising methods might not appeal to and in a way that is engaging and doesn’t feel like being ‘educated’ or preached at.
“This makes it an important and powerful medium for messages that a relevant to everyone and have the potential to effect positive change.”
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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: email@example.com