EastEnders' Bex Fowler (Jasmine Armfield) will attempt to take her own life as the pressure of recent events take their toll.
The teenager has been struggling with anxiety around exams, academic expectation, impending university and numerous personal traumas - including the fatal stabbing of friend Shakil Kazemi, her unrequited crush on Kush Kazemi and a reliance on medication - and in upcoming episodes she starts to feel overwhelmed and that suicide is her only way out.
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Despite the support from her family and friends the 18-year-old has bottled up her feelings. Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin) starts to notice her daughter's best friend is not coping and tries to encourage her to open up, but tragically fragile Bex continues to suffer in silence.
Events reach a harrowing climax when she attempts to take her own life, beginning the next phase of the character's journey as she finally speaks out about what she's going through, and - crucially - seeks the help she needs.
EastEnders are working closely with the Samaritans to ensure Bex's struggle is portrayed sensitively. Executive producer Jon Sen says: "We wanted to take Bex on a journey which accurately reflected the crises facing many young people today - many of whom, like Bex, struggle under mounting pressures placed on teenagers.
"Having worked closely with Samaritans, our wish is that by telling this story we can encourage others in Bex's position to realise there is always help, and always hope that others will be encouraged to start a conversation if they are worried about someone they know."
Research from the Samaritans highlights the importance of the issue, as Lorna Fraser, who leads on the organisation's media advice service, comments: "As suicide rates in England and Wales rose in 2018 for the first time in five years, with an increase in deaths by young people and the suicide rates of women under 25 at a record high, it is vital we increase understand of what can be done to prevent this.
"Suicide is not inevitable and media can be valuable channel to highlight this to the public. Handling compelling soap storylines responsibly offers an opportunity to reach a large audience and engage them with the topic, creating great awareness of how they can help prevent suicide and what support is available."
Bex's emotional plot unfolds in the coming weeks as she prepares to leave Walford to attend Oxford university.
Visit www.samaritans.org email email@example.com or call free any time on 116 123, even from a mobile without credit.
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