EastEnders writers take advice from Samaritans over Lee Carter
Writers on EastEnders have taken advice from Samaritans as Lee Carter's increasing load of personal problems leads him to contemplate suicide.
After being driven to the point of desperation with financial troubles - which led to his involvement with the break-in at The Vic and eventual arrest on the show's Christmas Day episode - in Friday's episode he finally asks himself whether his family would be better off without him.
In Thursday's programme, viewers saw Carter, played by Danny-Boy Hatchard, leave a note for his family in his car as the guilt of his actions became too much.
Most recently, he discovered that his wife Whitney, played by Shona McGarty, could be pregnant.
Hatchard said he hoped his role in portraying the sensitive subject would convince others in a similar situation to ask for help.
He said: "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."
Commending the soap for its portrayal of the issue, Samaritans' media adviser Lorna Fraser added: "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."