The producers of Coronation Street recently aired a shocking episode both to viewers and fans of the tv series and the characters in the programme. It entailed a male suicide that seemed to have come out of nowhere, no explanation or preparation for what was to come.
Bit late to it, but today I sat down and watched the hour long episode and my god it was so sad. I actually cried real tears, forgetting that the scene that was taking place in front of me, was all made up of normal human beings acting as other people.
This episode was brilliant, and not because someone took their own life but because it managed to raise awareness. It raised awareness to male suicide which is something that isn’t talked about enough, neither is suicide as a whole.
The episode provided both the stigma’s surrounding the topic and the reality of suicide and the “reasons” behind it – which isn’t always the case.
They cleverly provided the typical response to male emotion as Imran consulted a shocked David Platt by telling him to “man up”, in which Platt questioned – coinciding with the society of today and the break down of the stigma.
The tv series also provided comfort for any families who had lost a loved one to suicide. When reactions such as ‘ Suicide’s the most selfish thing you could do in the world’ arose, they were soon contradicted by the likes of Gina who went on to say ‘People don’t kill themselves because they want to die, they do it because they’re desperate.’
In this episode you see all kinds of reactions such as denial, sadness, anger and shock which reinforces the reality of such a tragic event that happens to so many families around the world.
Mental illness is something that can affect anyone in the world, and most of the time it isn’t visible to those around the person. We never truly know what’s going on in someone else’s mind and THAT is why we need to raise awareness and break the stigma – which Coronation Street have definitely succeeded in starting to do.
Another character, Leanne, describes it perfectly – ‘And a big dark cloud hanging over his (Aidan) head that none of us could see.’
By breaking the sigma and raising awareness we allow those affected by mental illness and thoughts of suicide, especially men, to seek help. It allows men to see that they don’t have to man up. Mental illness is mental illness. Emotions are emotions. They don’t make us weak or a failure.
All involved in this episode of Corrie really did do such a fantastic job at raising awareness and portraying the event as realistically as possible, from the reactions to the signs that weren’t visible to us as viewers that Aidan would go on to take his own life. Not only have they managed to raise awareness of male sexual assault but now male suicide. Two major things that aren’t discussed enough.
Help IS available and it’s important to remember that. If you feel suicidal it’s okay to reach out for help, you don’t have to go through it on your own. Reach out, and speak not man up.
Keep these numbers logged in your phone, or on a piece of paper.
Samaritans – 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
0800 58 58 58
Call 111 out of hours, they can help find you the correct support.
Papyrus – for people under 35
0800 068 41 41 – (Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm )
Text 07786 209697
Childline – for children and young people under 19
0800 1111 – the number won’t show up on your phone bill