EastEnders has been guided by Samaritans as depression sufferer Lee Carter contemplates suicide in the BBC saga’s plots.
The past year has seen Lee (Danny-Boy Hatchard) struggling to cope with a number of significant pressures and in recent episodes, things have gotten even worse for him as he has had to contend with the burden of his many secrets which has sent him into a dark downward spiral. In tonight’s episode (29 December), Lee left a note for his family in his car.
“Lee’s storyline is covering such an incredibly important and serious issue and I can only hope that his journey will encourage people to speak out about their problems and come to realise they are not alone.” Danny Boy Hatchard
Viewers have recently seen debt ridden Lee resort to desperate measures to shore up funds, including taking out multiple payday loans and stealing from his family.
Earlier this week, he was forced to come clean to wife Whitney (Shona McGarty) about his involvement in the recent raid on his family’s pub after she witnessed him being arrested on Christmas Day.
In tomorrow’s episode (30 December) everything will come to a head for Lee as the guilt and consequences of his actions becomes too much leaving Lee wrongly believing his family would be better off without him.
Lee was arrested in the soap’s Christmas day episode.
“Given the sensitivities with covering the topic of suicide we were pleased that EastEnders came to us for guidance on Lee Carter’s storyline.
“Increasing people’s understanding on the issues surrounding suicide, such as the kinds of problems that can lead a person to experience suicidal feelings and encouraging people to seek help, can help generate conversation and for some this can be a lifeline.
“Coverage of suicide, in drama and news, carries an element of risk, therefore it’s important that guidance is sought. Samaritans has been working with the media for over two decades providing expert advice on this.
“We would encourage any viewers who have been touched by Lee’s story to get in touch with Samaritans, we are here day and night, to listen and give confidential support. People can call us free of charge on 116123, or email email@example.com or find the details for your local branch at www.samaritans.org. Calls to Samaritans’ helpline do not show up on phone bills.” – Lorna Fraser, Samaritans’ Media Adviser
EastEnders has a rich history of tackling difficult and sensitive issues and Lee’s story is one of these.
Samaritans was founded in 1953 by Dr Chad Varah CH CBE. 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. Someone makes contact with Samaritans every six seconds. The charity’s vision is that fewer people die by suicide.