Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.
Coronation Street has confirmed a suicide attempt storyline for Audrey Roberts.
In an effort to highlight the issues of mental health and the impact of loneliness in older people, the ITV soap will show Audrey open up to her friends about her suicide attempt.
Last month, viewers saw Audrey in hospital after taking too many sleeping pills, but she will confide in Roy, Rita, Claudia and Ken that she did plan on ending her life.
Audrey actress Sue Nicholls explained that her character's initial reaction was to hide it from her family as they mean so much to her.
"She also enjoys and is grateful for being independent and living happily in her own home although the one big regret that has contributed to this latest situation is a wish that dear Alfie was still alive and there with her so that they could have grown old and equally doddery together.
"Her family, busy with their own lives, see her down and upset moments as her not being able to cope with the real world and she feels they have started treating her a bit like a child and she started to feel depressed.
"She is mostly very healthy and together but her depression seemed to take over totally."
The actress said Audrey's friends really help her open up and in turn, they also expressed what they find hard, and persuade her to take the doctor's advice.
Nicholls said that the message she would like people to take away from this storyline is to just talk to people.
"Sometimes the young generation might think that anyone over 70 isn't capable of making decisions, which in turn can make older people lose their sense of purpose and begin to feel quite useless," she said.
"I am lucky enough to work with people of every age. I have no idea how old many of them are nor do I need to know. I enjoy speaking with them and taking on board what they say about issues we discuss irrespective of what age we all are. So I'd like to say 'Listen, Audrey, I'm still learning about life at 79 and I truly hope to continue'."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV and streams on the ITV Hub.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
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