Rethink uses Hollyoaks to educate on mental illness

A mental health charity is hoping to communicate with young people through a storyline in the popular soap opera Hollyoaks.

Rethink's media team has been advising programme makers on a storyline that sees the character Newt developing schizophrenia.

It has passed scripts to a group of its media-trained volunteers who suffer from schizophrenia to ensure the portrayal of the condition is accurate.

The charity's senior media officer Hilary Caprani has also discussed the storyline with the actor.

Working with the popular show offered an opportunity for the charity to engage with a hard-to-reach but key target audience. 'By having direct access to the writers of this popular soap, we are able to reach schoolchildren and young adults through a medium of which they take notice,' said media officer Vicky Trimikliniotis.

The charity was keen that the programme avoided incorrect stereotypes and stigmatisation. It wanted to ensure the script did not make it seem that violence is an inevitable part of the condition. It also wanted it to show the effects on the sufferer's family and that people can and do recover from mental illness.

Rethink is considering running a campaign around the climax of the storyline in August.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in