A UK charity, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) has been working with Coronation Street as the ITV soap highlights the important issue of male suicide this month.

In an episode screened this evening, the character of Aidan Connor – played by Shayne Ward – tragically took his life. Along with the writers and production team at Coronation Street, Ward has worked closely with CALM and Samaritans to ensure the storyline is handled sensitively and realistically.

“I am honoured to have been trusted with a storyline like this,”

the actor said.

“Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story. We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan, will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they’re feeling.

“Talking could have helped Aidan to turn his life around. It could have brought him relief from what he was going through. This is what his loved ones would have wanted. Suicide is a very permanent response to what are usually temporary problems.”

The discovery of Aidan’s death will feature in an hour long episode set for broadcast on Wednesday May 9th.

Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, said:

“Coronation Street is doing vital work in highlighting such an important issue with this storyline. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, where three in every four suicides are male. The reasons for this are many and complex, but at CALM we focus on the cultural and societal aspects, including the pressures men face and how societal expectations can limit help seeking when life gets tough. Working with Coronation Street has allowed us to engage a huge audience in the devastating effect of suicide, while providing a platform to highlight the help that is available for those in need of support.”

What support is available?

There are a large number of resources and support out there for anyone who feels that they can’t go on.

  • Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s helpline and webchat are open daily from 5.00pm until midnight.
  • Have you been affected by suicide? The Support After Suicide Partnership is a hub for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide, where you can find emotional and practical support.
  • Learn lifesaving skills. The Zero Suicide Alliance have produced a free suicide prevention training course that will teach you how to recognise the warning signs and safeguard someone that could be contemplating suicide – It’ll only take you 20 minutes to complete!
  • If you need someone to talk to, the Samaritans provide a free 24/7 helpline. Call 116 123 and talk to someone.
  • The NHS Choices website contains lots of help and advice about suicidal thoughts.