HOLBY City will tackle male mental health in a forthcoming episode, the BBC has announced.
The soap has worked with mental health charity Mind for the episode, which will be a departure from the usual format and is due to air at the end of the month.
Much of the episode, entitled Man Down, will take place on the roof of Holby City Hospital, as Dr Sacha Levy, played by Bob Barrett, struggles with his emotions after a devastating surgical outcome for a favourite patient.
The episode will allow viewers to explore previous scenes from a new perspective, as the consultant looks back over the difficult past year.
Simon Harper, executive producer of Holby City and Casualty, said: “This is an incredibly important episode of Holby where we completely depart from our normal format, focusing on one troubled year in the life of one beloved, vulnerable character.
“Brilliant writer Michelle Lipton shines a light on the vital issue of male mental health and how it can slip under the radar because of the reluctance of many men like Sacha, who avoid seeking help for fear of appearing weak.
“Bob’s performance is absolutely heart-breaking and the series producer, Kate Hall, and I are so proud of him. We are also very grateful to Mind and all the support and advice they have given us on this story.”
Mind spokeswoman Jenni Regan said: “The media has a huge role in shaping public attitudes, educating people and encouraging people to seek support.
“It’s great to see that Holby City is shining a spotlight on the issue of depression and suicide rates in men, particularly using such a well-loved and popular character, Sacha.
“We know when dramatic portrayals of mental health are well done, it can have the potential to improve attitudes towards those of us with mental health problems, and encourage more people to seek help.
“Mind’s media advice service encourages and supports positive and realistic dramatic depictions of mental health problems.
“The service works with a large number of dramas and continuing dramas series each week and attempts to include input from people with experience of mental health problems, to help shape scripts and storylines.
“If you think you or a loved one might be experiencing a mental health problem then seeking help is one of the most important things you can do.
“Speak to a friend or family member or go to your GP, who can talk you through the support that’s available or call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 for more information.”