One of Walford’s most loved characters, Stacey Branning, is set to face her toughest challenge yet as she comes to terms with the prospect that she suffers from bipolar disorder, the same condition that her mother Jean Slater has had for many years.
EastEnders on BBC One has worked closely with various charities including Mind and MDF The BiPolar Organisation (Manic Depression Fellowship), on researching this storyline to accurately reflect the issue.
Viewers have recently seen Stacey struggling to come to terms with the death of her friend Danielle and since then her life has been continuing on a downward spiral but, over the next few weeks, viewers will see her mum, Jean, try to persuade her to seek medical attention. However, a fearful Stacey is adamant that there is nothing wrong and tries to carry on as usual.
Diederick Santer, Executive Producer, adds: “What we’re seeing this week with Stacey is in some ways an extension of how she’s always been – a character of highs and lows, of great passions and dark moods. This week, we see that the contrasts have become bigger, and we start to realise that her mood is more complex than upset about her brother’s disappearance and grief at her friend’s death.
“It’s the beginning of us getting to really know and understand who Stacey is and what makes her behave the way she does.”
Lacey Turner adds: “I think its great that EastEnders is continuing to raise awareness of this difficult issue. With the research that EastEnders has done with these charities, I hope that I can do justice to this challenging storyline.”
Mind’s Chief Executive, Paul Farmer, said: “It’s fantastic that a high-profile soap like EastEnders has been prepared to tackle the challenge of exploring a mental health issue through the experience of Stacey who is such a well-loved and popular character. The degree of research and consultancy they have undertaken to ensure an accurate and honest portrayal of how mental distress affects not only the individual but also family and friends is to be commended.
“For many people with mental health problems the stigma and discrimination they can face can be a bigger obstacle than the illness itself. We hope this storyline will help to dispel the myths about mental health problems and help the public to be more informed about this issue.”