The BBC One soap has worked closely with Samaritans on a storyline that will see the troubled teen try to end it all.
In recent months various pressures have taken their toll on Bex – played by Jasmine Armfield – but despite her behaviour being a cause for alarm on occasion, the adults around her are unaware of what exactly she is going through due to Bex not opening up to them.
In upcoming episodes Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin) will notice that Bex isn’t coping and encourage her to share what she is 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.
“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.” – Jon Sen, Executive Producer
Following Bex’s actions, viewers will see her begin to open up about how she feels and get the help she needs.
EastEnders consulted with Samaritans when devising the storyline to ensure it is portrayed as sensitively as possible.
“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.” – Lorna Fraser, Samaritans’ Media Advice Service
Samaritans was founded in 1953 by Dr Chad Varah CH CBE as a point of contact for UK and Ireland citizens in emotional distress. It was the world’s first 24 hour telephone helpline and has expanded from one man and a phone, more than 60 years ago, to 20,665 volunteers, in 201 branches, answering more than five million calls for help, today.
Ayone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email email@example.com or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of their trained volunteers face to face.