This article contains discussions of suicide and suicidal thoughts which some readers may find upsetting.
Emmerdale has revealed that for the first time in its 50 years on air, it will be showcasing an all-male episode to tie in with Paddy Kirk's (Dominic Brunt) mental health storyline.
Last week, the ITV soap confirmed that Paddy's ongoing struggle to come to terms with his marriage heartbreak would lead him to consider taking his own life.
In recent scenes, Paddy left the village but will return in March to say some veiled goodbyes to his loved ones. Although Marlon (Mark Charnock) will be able to bring Paddy home safely, he knows that his best friend's mental health continues to be fragile - and he wants to do anything he can to help.
So, Marlon sets up a late-night lock-in at The Woolpack, and men opening up and talking to each other is the only thing on the agenda.
In the episode billed for Friday 10th March, the doors of the pub will be locked and the men of the village will stay behind as they use the evening as a forum to talk.
Speaking about the special instalment, Charnock said: "Despite Paddy being home and safe back in the heart of the village Marlon is finding it hard to get through to him, and is worried Paddy will never find the courage to open up and talk.
"When Chas and Jimmy both unwittingly give Marlon this idea, it’s not long before Marlon is acting on their information and setting up this lock-in. He just hopes it will help."
Emmerdale producer Laura Shaw added: “When we embarked on this heartbreaking storyline about Paddy's depression and attempted suicide we knew we wanted to shine a light on how important it is to just talk.
"Inspired by listening to real stories from the charity Andy's Man Club, we decided to have some of the men in our village come together for a very special episode which purely focuses on them and seeing them talking about whatever they are feeling or thinking.
"If watching some of our most loved characters opening up to each other encourages just one person to reach out and start talking, we will be extremely thankful."
He said: "Today in the UK, three in four suicides are men. If this episode of Emmerdale can shed a light on how important it is for men to talk, we will be delighted as it may just reach that one man who sees that #ItsOkayToTalk and makes that brave, life-changing step to go to an Andy's Man Club.
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"Kudos to Emmerdale for approaching this subject so head-on and with such accuracy which we all felt was important."
Anyone relating to Paddy's story can find help and support by visiting the Samaritans and Andy's Man Club websites. The NHS website also provides advice on how to seek help if you're experiencing suicidal thoughts.
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