Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide and sexual abuse that some readers may find upsetting.
EastEnders has created a powerful storyline that will see Mick Carter considering suicide in its New Year's Eve episode.
This gripping development will come months after Mick (Danny Dyer) realised he'd been sexually abused by his carer Katy Lewis (Simone Lahbib) when he was a child.
Katy has been manipulating Mick ever since she arrived in Walford, twisting his memories to insist that she was only ever a caring mentor in his youth.
Mick has become increasingly withdrawn from his family ever since he had this revelation about his past, lashing out at Tina and Shirley. He's also hidden his heartbreak over Linda having an affair with Max Branning.
All of Mick's trauma will compound on New Year's Eve, as he considers taking his own life when he feels he has no-one left to turn to.
EastEnders boss Jon Sen and his team are working with Samaritans to create a story that will try to show viewers that suicide is not inevitable.
"This storyline is such a vital one for EastEnders to portray," the producer said. "We've worked closely with the NSPCC and Survivors UK since the inception of this story and as viewers have watched Mick struggle to come to terms with the truth of what happened to him as a child, we were determined to show the brutal reality and effects that abuse can cause.
"Working with the Samaritans has been invaluable to ensure that Mick's story is true to life and they've been a huge support, offering guidance throughout the process. Danny gives an incredible performance and we hope his portrayal of Mick's trauma will help dispel the stigma that survivors are often burdened with."
"Suicide is not inevitable and just having someone there to listen, without judgement, can help save a life," Samaritan's Lorna Fraser said. "We have been pleased to work with EastEnders giving expert advice on Mick Carter's story, as it's a chance to explore some of the issues surrounding suicide in a sensitive and considered way.
"Responsible storylines can help start important conversations and encourage people to reach out for help. We would encourage any viewers who have been touched by this storyline to contact Samaritans. You don't have to have reached crisis point to get in touch, sometimes it's just a case of needing to talk concerns or worries through. Whatever it may be, our amazing volunteers are always here to listen, day and night."
The Carters were central to EastEnders' New Year's Eve episode in 2019 as well, as the writers penned a full half-hour exploration of Linda's alcoholism.
EastEnders continues on Thursday (December 17) at 7.35pm on BBC One.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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