Kyle Kelly, played by Adam Rickitt, will tragically take his own life in the lead up to his wedding to Nancy.
Hollyoaks will not play out Kyle’s death on screen, but the aftermath of his loss will be explored through those left behind as they come to terms with what has happened.
“When I first heard about the storyline, I was excited as an actor to be able to portray such a dramatic journey, and pride that the team had entrusted me to do it. There was also a sense of personal fear. Like all too many I had to walk a similar path in my lifetime and the idea of revisiting that, even in the world of fiction, was slightly daunting.
“In truth though it became an incredibly empowering experience. The sensitivity and heart that the writers put into the story really shone through, and at a time like now, more than ever, I think we need to be highlighting just this sort of issue. As sad as I am to say goodbye to Kyle, I have loved being a part of Hollyoaks.” – Adam Rickitt
Rickitt, who rose to fame playing Nick Tilsey in ITV’s Coronation Street, added that he was glad to be leaving with a story “that is so important and so challenging” and that he hoped the viewers would “find strength in its telling” the way he had. While the storyline began before the pandemic, charities have stressed the current importance of highlighting suicide prevention.
“A rise in the number of suicides during and after this time of global crisis is not inevitable – if people reach out and are given the help they need.” – Angela Samata, Suicide Prevention Campaigner
The Samaritans note that men are less likely to seek professional help for their mental health and are three times more likely to take their own lives. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50. Hollyoaks has a long history of tackling mental health issues sensitively and has won the ‘Making A Difference’ Award at the MIND Media Awards, which celebrate the best possible representations of mental health by the media.
“Hollyoaks’ writing team have been laying the building blocks of Darren and Kyle’s individual stories for some time, carefully exploring the nuances that comes from two men living with depression in two very different ways. There is no face to male suicide, and we wanted to highlight the ways in which depression can manifest itself with two of our much-loved characters. By telling this storyline Hollyoaks would like to highlight the importance of creating an environment to listen, giving those who need it the time to talk.” – Bryan Kirkwood, Executive Producer
Angela Samata, suicide prevention campaigner said that “Hollyoaks is playing an essential role in raising awareness, challenging the stigma around suicide and encouraging a demographic at risk to reach out for help and support.”
“Through our media advisory service, we worked closely with the Hollyoaks team to ensure the depictions of male depression and suicide were handled sensitively and portrayed accurately. Our team delivered workshops to the leading actors, provided feedback on scripts and met with producers to help build a greater understanding.” – Aimee Gee, Head of Media and PR at Mind
The Hollyoaks cast and producers also visited and worked closely with James’ Place, a unique centre for emergency male mental health, based in Liverpool, to guide the process for this vital storyline. The saga planned to film a help and support video at the centre, which had to be postponed due to current circumstances. The centre continues to operate and provide support online, via their website – https://www.jamesplace.org.uk/
“We are so pleased that Hollyoaks consulted with us to create this storyline. At James’ Place, we know that men facing a suicidal crisis can get out of it, with the right help. It’s important for all of us to feel confident to ask straightforward questions when someone we care about is struggling We believe that no one should face a suicidal crisis alone. If you are feeling hopeless, reach out, help is available.” – Jane Boland, Centre Manager at James’ Place
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email email@example.com in the UK.