EMMERDALE producers have turned to a Barnsley men’s mental health support group and the Samaritans in an attempt to break the stigmas surrounding mental health issues in men.
Andy’s Man Club, who hold support meetings every Monday at Honeywell Sports Campus and Library @ the Lightbox, are getting involved in Emmerdale’s recent campaign, where an episode featuring an ensemble of only male actors will be aired for the first time in its 50-year history.
Sean Gill, project development champion at the Barnsley branch, said: “Working with Emmerdale’s producers and scriptwriters has been absolutely fantastic – we’ve been working with them for the last five months and we’ve enjoyed every minute.
“In coming weeks, Marlon Dingle, played by Mark Charnock, will set up a late night lock-in at the Emmerdale Woolpack, with one thing on the agenda – men talking to each other.
“The pub gathering will follow Marlon’s discovery that his friend Paddy, played by Dominic Brunt, was trying to kill himself.
“With Paddy’s mental health continuing to be fragile, and after bringing him home, Marlon wants to do anything he can to help his friend.
“The episode is absolutely vital in getting the message out there and we’ve been honoured to get involved in such an important storyline – raising awareness of men’s mental health is our top priority.
“Hats off to Emmerdale for introducing a suicide and mental health based story.”
Laura Shaw, Emmerdale producer and script editor, added: “When we embarked on this heartbreaking storyline about Paddy’s depression we knew we wanted to shine a light on how important it is to talk.
“Inspired by listening to real stories from the charity and Andy’s Man Club, we decided to have some of the men in our village come together for a very special episode which focuses purely on them.
“If watching some of our most loved characters opening up to each other encourages just one person to reach out and start talking, we will be extremely thankful.”
The episode will be shown next Friday at 7.30pm.