EastEnders has announced it is working with Samaritans on a devastating storyline for Bex Fowler
Soap bosses have teamed up with the charity on a storyline which will see Bex Fowler make an attempt to take her own life.
In recent months, EastEnders viewers have seen Bex struggling to cope as she becomes overwhelmed by a number of pressures and despite approaches from those around her; Bex hasn't opened up to anyone.
In upcoming episodes, Lisa Fowler will be seen realising that Bex isn’t coping and try to encourage her to share what she’s going through with someone. However, Bex will continue to suffer in silence and everything comes to a head when she attempts to take her own life wrongly thinking she has no other option.
Following Bex’s actions, viewers will see her begin to open up about how she feels and get the help she needs.
EastEnders has consulted with Samaritans from the start of this storyline to ensure it is portrayed as sensitively as possible.
Lorna Fraser who leads on Samaritans’ Media Advice Service, commented on the storyline: “Suicide is clearly a very sensitive topic and we were pleased that EastEnders contacted us for advice on how to approach Bex’s storyline.
"Bex’s story highlights the potential consequences of not seeking help if you’re struggling to cope, and also the importance of starting a conversation if you think someone you know may be struggling. If you are worried about someone it’s alright to ask if they’re ok. For some it can be a huge relief to know that someone’s spotted they may be going through a difficult time.
“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 rate of women under 25 at a record high*, it’s vital that we increase understanding of what can be done to prevent this. Suicide is not inevitable and media can be a 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 of suicide, creating greater awareness of how they can help to prevent suicide and what support is available.
“We would encourage anyone who has been touched by Bex’s storyline to speak to someone they trust or get in touch with Samaritans, we’re here to offer support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Jon Sen, Executive Producer of EastEnders added: “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 the mounting pressures placed on teenagers today.
"Having worked closely with Samaritans, our wish is that by telling this story we can encourage others in Bex’s position to realise there’s always help and there’s always hope and we hope that others will be encouraged to start a conversation if they are worried about someone they know.”
EastEnders airs on BBC One.
If you ever need help, Samaritans offer confidential advice and support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over the phone on 116 123 or online