EastEnders have been handling Lee Carter's depression storyline with grace and dignity by slowing building things up and showing viewers how Lee is solely consumed by his feelings – but viewers saw Lee reach braking point in tonights episode (29 Dec) when Lee Carter left a goodbye note for his family in his car.
Is Lee contemplating suicide?
In recent months, we've seen Lee (played by Danny-Boy Hatchard) marry the love of his life Whitney Dean, hold down a job outside of Walford and move into his own place. However, all this came at a huge cost, with Lee not only sinking back into his depression, but also racking up a huge amount of debt – he even Lee Carter orchestrated the robbery on his family at the Queen Vic.
Over the festive period, Lee confessed to Whitney about the robbery and how his 'mates' (including bully Oz) terrorised his family senseless, but he is still hiding certain secrets from his fiancée.
And with Whitney dropping the bombshell that she may be pregnant again pushing him to breaking point - it will all become too much for Lee and he will contemplate committing suicide over the New Year.
But will his family, who all love him very much, be able to help?
EastEnders have teamed up with charity Samaritans to raise awareness of depression and suicide and they hope Lee Carter's storyline would convince others in a similar situation to ask for help.
Samaritans’ media adviser Lorna Fraser told The Mirror: "Given the sensitivities with covering the topic of suicide we were pleased that EastEnders came to us for guidance on Lee Carter’s storyline.
"Increasing people’s understanding on the issues surrounding suicide, such as the kinds of problems that can lead a person to experience suicidal feelings and encouraging people to seek help, can help generate conversation and for some this can be a lifeline.
"Coverage of suicide, in drama and news, carries an element of risk, therefore it’s important that guidance is sought. Samaritans has been working with the media for over two decades providing expert advice on this.
We would encourage any viewers who have been touched by Lee’s story to get in touch with Samaritans, we are here day and night, to listen and give confidential support. People can call us free of charge on 116123, or email email@example.com or find the details for your local branch at www.samaritans.org. Calls to Samaritans’ helpline do not show up on phone bills."
Actor Danny-Boy Hatchard added: "Lee’s storyline is covering such an incredibly important and serious issue and I can only hope that his journey will encourage people to speak out about their problems and come to realise they are not alone."
Many viewers took to Twitter to commend the soap for raising awareness of the extremely important everyday issue:
EastEnders continues on BBC1 tomorrow at 8pm on BBC One.