The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide and sexual abuse that some readers may find upsetting.
EastEnders spoilers follow.
Mick Carter has had a breakthrough about his childhood abuse in a powerful New Year's Eve episode that saw him contemplating taking his life.
Thursday's (December 31) episode opened with Mick (Danny Dyer) standing on the edge of the Vic's roof, before flashing back to him in his home, calling Samaritans for help.
Through a series of flashback sequences to both the near and distant past, Mick revisited traumatic moments throughout his life that led him to the point of such misery.
Danny-Boy Hatchard made a surprise return for scenes in which Mick and Linda (Kellie Bright) broke the news to him that they would be splitting up.
"Why now, after all these years?" a tearful Lee asked his parents.
Linda acknowledged that the "special thing" in their marriage was gone, so she was going to go away to New Zealand with Ollie and Max Branning (Jake Wood).
Lee spotted that his father had been depressed, but Mick once again refused when Linda offered to "call the whole thing off" and help him through whatever he was feeling.
"No, don't," Mick told her. "You've got a plan. You stick to it."
Mick insisted to the Samaritans helpline operator, Joe, that he was to blame for his marriage breaking down, claiming his pushing her away drove Linda to have an affair with Max.
There were also dark flashback scenes to Mick's childhood, where Katy Lewis (Simone Lahbib) was shown leading him to a bedroom and closing the door — foreshadowing the abuse he'd suffered at her hands.
All throughout these scenes, Joe talked Mick through what he was feeling and ultimately offered him words of comfort.
"This isn't something you have to face alone," Mick was told. "You don't have to talk if you don't want to. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."
Joe stayed on the line as Mick wandered through a party at the Vic, stared longingly at his and Linda's old bedroom and then wandered up to the roof of the building.
"As soon as I met [Frankie], I had this feeling. It's like a pain," Mick explained. "What's wrong with me, Joe?"
As Mick was contemplating ending his life, the words of his son Lee urging him to "talk to someone" echoed in his mind and encouraged him to stay on the phone with Joe.
Joe helped Mick realise that Lee was able to "give life another chance" when he also considered suicide a few years ago.
"You've done the right thing, Mick. You've called us… You're not alone," Joe assured him.
Mick was able to finally connect that his dark feelings resurfaced when Katy returned to his life, explaining: "I've been listening to every single word she's said, and it don't work anymore!"
He put the pieces together that Katy had abused him as a boy and more recently manipulated him into leaving Linda.
The final scene of the episode showed him stepping back from the ledge of the Vic and continuing to speak to Joe, telling him: "I'm her victim. She's been covering it up ever since."
EastEnders producer Jon Sen and his team previously announced that they'd worked with Samaritans on this episode to show viewers that suicide is never inevitable.
In the coming episodes, viewers will watch Mick process the breakthrough he made during his helpline call with Joe.
EastEnders continues on New Year's Day at 8pm on BBC One.
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.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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