EastEnders will explore male postnatal depression in a new storyline, which will see character Stuart Highway as he struggles to bond with his newborn son.
icky Champ, who plays Stuart in the BBC One soap opera, will portray his character’s mental struggle as he undergoes cancer treatment while growing concerned about his not being able to bond with his son Roland .
EastEnders bosses said they are working closely with two mental health charities to ensure Stuart’s plight is portrayed in the most realistic and sensitive way possible.
Stuart, who has been a character on the soap opera since 2018, was diagnosed with male breast cancer last year and recently agreed to undergo treatment for his son, who he shares with his wife Rainie Highway.
Over the coming weeks, viewers will see him struggle to bond with Roland, which eventually leads him to question his love for the child.
The program was led by Mind and the Pandas Foundation, who are helping parents and carers to cope.
Pandas Director Annie Belasco said: “The Pandas Foundation was delighted to hear that EastEnders intended to produce a storyline that would highlight postnatal depression in men. We enjoyed advising the team on the postnatal depression aspect of Stuart’s journey, which we think will be relevant to many fathers struggling to bond with their baby.
“Postnatal depression in fathers is still a much-understood and stigmatized area, which is why it’s so important to share awareness that men who may be uncomfortable with symptoms of postnatal depression can seek the support they need early on need interventional stage.
“Full recovery from any low-level perinatal mental illness is possible with the right support.”
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Postnatal depression is a form of depression that can affect mothers and fathers after the birth of a child.
Symptoms can include persistent depression, lack of energy, and difficulty bonding with your baby.
Alex Bushill, Head of Media and Public Relations at Mind, said: “When people see mental health issues sensitively portrayed on screen, it raises awareness and encourages people to seek mental health support. So it’s great to see EastEnders dedicating airtime to researching such an important topic.
“I hope this story helps highlight how depression can affect young fathers and encourages fathers to seek help when they need it. Whatever you are going through, you are not alone. And you deserve respect and support.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/eastenders-to-tackle-male-postnatal-depression-in-new-storyline-41590682.html EastEnders tackles postnatal depression in men in new storyline