CALM has been working with Coronation Street as the ITV soap highlights the important issue of male suicide this month.
In episodes to be screened the week of May 7th, the character of Aidan Connor – played by Shayne Ward – will tragically take his life. Along with the writers and production team at Coronation Street, Ward has worked closely with CALM and Samaritans to ensure the storyline is handled sensitively and realistically.
“I am honoured to have been trusted with a storyline like this,” the actor said. “Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story. We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan, will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they’re feeling.
“Talking could have helped Aidan to turn his life around. It could have brought him relief from what he was going through. This is what his loved ones would have wanted. Suicide is a very permanent response to what are usually temporary problems.”
The discovery of Aidan’s death will feature in an hour long episode set for broadcast on Wednesday May 9th. Kate Oates, producer at Coronation Street, feels that suicide is an issue they had to highlight.
She said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can’t afford to not talk about it. Through this story, we want to assure anyone who feels suicidal that there is always someone who wants to listen and support you: whether a friend, family member, or one of the brilliant charities we have been working with throughout this story. We want to tell people that however bleak they are feeling, there is always another way.”
“Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story. We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan, will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they’re feeling.”
Actor Shayne Ward
Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, said: “Coronation Street is doing vital work in highlighting such an important issue with this storyline. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, where three in every four suicides are male. The reasons for this are many and complex, but at CALM we focus on the cultural and societal aspects, including the pressures men face and how societal expectations can limit help seeking when life gets tough. Working with Coronation Street has allowed us to engage a huge audience in the devastating effect of suicide, while providing a platform to highlight the help that is available for those in need of support.”
Shayne Ward was joined by Simon Gunning on ITV’s This Morning to discuss the story line and why Coronation Street are highlighting the important issue of male suicide. Watch the footage back here.
Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s helpline and webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight. Get access here.
Have you been affected by suicide? The Support After Suicide Partnership is a hub for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide, where you can find emotional and practical support.
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