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Coronation Street raise awareness of men’s mental health issues

I want to write a post to express my respect for Coronation Street for their brilliant work in raising awareness of men’s mental health issues. They have tackled this through various storylines with the highest impact being that of Aiden.

To focus on a character who was good-looking, had got his business back, had women who loved him and friends and family around shows how mental health can strike anywhere. What the world sees is not necessarily anything like what we see in our own minds. However vigilant we try to be, it can be challenging to spot the signs of mental distress.

Millions of people watch soaps so they are in a superb position to make a positive difference to society and have done so on so many occasions. However, this campaign around men’s mental wellbeing really stands out. The episode showing the heart-breaking and very diverse reactions to Aiden’s death can only be described as impeccable. Actors need great writers and hats off to the writer of this episode. How wonderful that every single actor played their part so very well. There was love, shock, anger, guilt and learning as there always will be with any loss but perhaps particularly in the case of suicide.

Many of us will have had suicide touch our lives and some of us will have had suicidal thoughts. An old crush of mine killed himself. An uncle and two members of my husband’s fathers have made attempts on their own lives. I once had to tell a close female friend that one of her male friends had killed themselves. It felt like I was in a play as I guess such situations always feel a little surreal whilst also scarily true.

Can you remember bringing your baby home from hospital and wanted to keep checking s/he was breathing. I used to feel negligent every time I went to sleep. Now they are older, I still don’t like them to disappear too long and check to make sure they are OK. I like to think that I encourage the open sharing of feelings and that this will build mental resilience. I also have heard many mums say they never saw the suicide that now forms part of their family history coming at all.

As we watched the episode the other night, my 14 year old daughter burst into tears sobbing uncontrollably. “It’s still sad even if it is a fictional character” she said. I took her on my knee and we snuggled up discussing mental health and how this storyline will do so much good and will probably save lives too.

The Coronation Street storyline does not appear in a vacuum. I think we are at a key moment in history where we are all caring more about looking out for each other and this is long overdue. It always take one person to make a difference and that can be you or me or one of our children. Hats off to the people who have the guts to speak out when nobody is listening because if they keep talking folks will sit up and take notice. I am no Royalist but I do think Prince Harry being so open about his struggles has acted as such a catalyst towards us getting things right for our men and boys in the future.

Whilst I am blogging about this subject, I would like to express my strong view that any presenter on daytime telly who uses the term “Man Up!” should be fired.

Once again, huge respect to everyone involved in the Coronation Street storyline and of course there is so much help out there if you don’t feel able to talk to friends and family for some reason.

http://www.itv.com/advice

P.S. Interestingly after writing this post I logged into FB and found this memory from a year ago

“I know that bloggers in particular see me as open and honest but the truth is that life has been far tougher than I have revealed over the years. And the reason I am saying this now is to give hope because our life is changing for the better radically and that means anyone going through trouble now can have theirs changed too. We would all be a lot healthier mentally if we shared out struggles more openly and give up all idea of being ashamed or whatever because we don’t live up to some societal or media image of perfection.”

I guess this is a reminder that we don’t need to compete about who gets the best or worst deal on mental health or abuse issues. Women and men suffer and the more we work together the better.

Coronation Street Raise Awareness of Men's Mental Health Issues

Lucy At Home

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20 Comments

  • Emily

    I’ve been watching this and think it’s great that they’re talking about this. Thanks for joining in with #ThatFridayLinky

  • Kim Carberry

    Corrie did so well with the Aiden story line and Wednesday’s episode was utterly heartbreaking. I cried from near enough the beginning to the end. It was such a great way to raise awareness. I hope it helps.

  • Sarah Stockley

    I must be one of the only people who doesn’t watch soaps! But i know many friends have been watching and discussing this story on Facebook. It sounds like they did a brilliant job. #FabFridayPost

  • mummy here asnd

    Yay! It is so good that a minstream programme raisies important issue like this, I think some people assue that mental health only effects certain people but mental health does not descrimiate regasrdless of how much money you have in your bank, gender, race etc. X #mmbc

  • Sons Over the Yardarm

    I had to brace myself to watch this as I knew it would be tough to watch, but it was brilliantly done. Few programme types have the opportunity to tackle something like this, but soaps have characters people follow for years and feel they know so I think it’s great that they’ve done this. Really hope it helps some people to talk if they need to. #dreamteam

  • Lucy At Home

    This is so true. I don’t watch soaps at all but even I have heard about the Coronation Street storyline, because it really has got people talking about the issues around mental health. And you’re right – it can be so difficult to spot the signs, I think especially with men who generally find it harder to share their thoughts and feelings. One of my best friend’s husband has been feeling very suicidal in recent months but I only know because my friend confided in me – on the surface you would have no idea. Even though we are good friends with him, we would have absolutely no idea that he was feeling this way if it hadn’t been for the inside knowledge (and he doesn’t know that I know). Thank you for adding your voice to this important message #blogcrush

  • Sarah | Mummykind

    It’s so important that awareness is raised! Suicide is still the biggest killer in young men, and although I don’t watch Coronation Street (or any soaps) it’s amazing that they’re using their influence to make people more aware of what goes on around them every day #TheMMLinky

  • Michelle Kellogg

    Wow! This was an amazing and well-written post! I don’t get your show here in the states (though its probably on the BBC channel, which I don’t watch enough of with the exception of Doctor Who) but I have no idea if our Soaps even tackle this issue. I know that have tackled major issues in the past but this episode sounds like it was very well written and the performance was done in a very respectful way. We need to get the awareness out there. That’s the most important thing and I am hoping to start seeing a change in our culture where Mental illness isn’t seen as a weakness because many people come out of it stronger than before, myself included. And even if people suffer for the rest of their lives, like with Bipolar for instance, many still manage to live happy lives. I know quite a few people with Bipolar so this one is close to me. Great post to be shared! #FamilyFunLinky

  • Jaki

    I agree, Coronation Street have been incredible with what they have done and there has been a message in every other scene. Very powerful. It will have helped so many. Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales.

  • Laura Dove

    With suicide being the biggest killer in men under a certain age, I commend Coronation street for what they are doing. 6 men in my small village have committed suicide in the space of just 12 months, two of whom I grew up with, and I feel so desperately sad that they felt there was no other option available to them. Well done Coronation Street!! #bigpinklink

  • Alana - Burnished Chaos

    I don’t watch Coronation Street so I don’t know all the details of the storyline but it’s such a big show that it has also been in the news so even those who don’t watch it are hearing about it. It’s such an important issue and anything that can help raise awareness is a great thing.
    Thank you for joining the #FamilyFunLinky x

  • Kel - School Runs and Shopping Trolleys#

    I don’t watch any of the soaps any more, but was aware of this story line thanks to it featuring in the media. It’s a very good thing that mental health issues, particularly in males, is becoming talked about much more in this way. #TheMMLinky

  • Marylin

    I’ve not watched Corrie for years but cannot agree enough my relief that mental health issues is becoming a more talked about thing. Raising two boys I hope I’m giving them the tools that will help them feel they can speak to me if they are ever feeling like life is getting too hard. #TheMMLinky

  • Su {Ethan & Evelyn}

    Such a thoughtful article Kate. I don’t watch Coronation Street because I don’t really have the time, but it sound like they have just hit the nail on the head may I say. It is great that they are making big awareness of this and has touch so many lives with this important subject. Is this is okay with you, I’d like to feature your post on our Britmums’ Charity Round up post. I hope it is okay. xx

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