BBC soap EastEnders has been working closely with suicide charity Samaritans on an upcoming storyline focussed on Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and his mental health, the broadcaster has announced.
The storyline, which has built up over the last few months, will see Mick contemplate taking his own life on New Year’s Eve following the arrival of his sexual abuser, Katy Lewis (Simone Labhib), in Walford.
Viewers have recently seen the character, who first appeared on the BBC’s long running soap in 2013, experience panic attacks, become increasingly despondent and alienate his family as he struggles to process the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.
Made worse by the show’s introduction of Katy – the care worker who sexually abused Mick when he was 12 – in November, Mick has since been overwhelmed by his past trauma as viewers have watched Katy try to distort his memories and convince him nothing happened.
“In the New Year’s Eve episode, things spiral further for Mick and feeling he has no one else to turn to, Mick contemplates taking his own life,” the BBC revealed.
Jon Sen, an executive producer of EastEnders, said in a statement that the story line is “such a vital one” for the soap to portray.
“We’ve worked closely with the NSPCC and Survivors UK since the inception of this story and as viewers have watched Mick struggle to come to terms with the truth of what happened to him as a child, we were determined to show the brutal reality and effects that abuse can cause.”
“Working with the Samaritans has been invaluable to ensure that Mick’s story is true to life and they’ve been a huge support, offering guidance throughout the process,” he added. “Danny gives an incredible performance and we hope his portrayal of Mick’s trauma will help dispel the stigma that survivors are often burdened with.”
Samaritans’ Media Advice Service lead Lorna Fraser added: “Suicide is not inevitable and just having someone there to listen, without judgement, can help save a life.”
“We have been pleased to work with EastEnders giving expert advice on Mick Carter’s story, as it’s a chance to explore some of the issues surrounding suicide in a sensitive and considered way. Responsible storylines can help start important conversations and encourage people to reach out for help.
“We would encourage any viewers who have been touched by this storyline to contact Samaritans. You don’t have to have reached crisis point to get in touch, sometimes it’s just a case of needing to talk concerns or worries through,” she said. “Whatever it may be, our amazing volunteers are always here to listen, day and night.”
You can call Samaritans confidentially and free of charge on 116123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find details for your local branch at www.samaritans.org.