EastEnders confirms postnatal depression story for Stuart Highway
EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders has confirmed a father's postnatal depression storyline for Stuart Highway.
Recent episodes have shown Stuart (Ricky Champ) struggle to bond with his newborn baby Roland, and his behaviour sparked concern from his wife Rainie tonight (April 26).
Stuart was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and recently agreed to treatment for the sake of his son.
Stuart has since been told that he will need chemotherapy following his operation and has secretly started to take painkillers – despite his history with his addiction.
Over the coming episodes, viewers will also see Stuart continue in his struggle to connect with Roland, leading him to eventually question his love for the baby.
EastEnders has worked closely with PANDAS and Mind on the mental health storyline to ensure it is portrayed as realistically and as sensitively as possible.
Annie Belasco, Head of the Charity PANDAS, said: "PANDAS Foundation were delighted to hear that EastEnders intended to produce a storyline highlighting postnatal depression in men. We enjoyed advising the team around the postnatal depression aspect of Stuart's journey which we feel will be relatable to many fathers struggling to bond with their baby.
"Postnatal depression in fathers is still a much undiscovered and stigmatised area, which is why it is so imperative that awareness is shared in no doubt that men who may be feeling unwell with symptoms of postnatal depression can seek the support that they need at an early interventional stage. A full recovery of any low level perinatal mental illness, with the right support, is possible."
Alex Bushill, Head of Media & PR at Mind, added: "When people see mental health problems portrayed sensitively on screen, it raises awareness and encourages people to seek support for their mental health. So, it's great to see EastEnders dedicating airtime to exploring such an important issue.
"I hope this story helps highlight how depression can impact new dads and encourage dads to seek help if they need it. Whatever you're going through, you're not alone. And you deserve respect and support."
EastEnders continues tomorrow night (April 27) at 7.30pm on BBC One.
Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, organisations that can offer support include PANDAS on 0808 1961 776 (https://pandasfoundation.org.uk) or MIND (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov.
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