When Paddy (Dominic Brunt) returned to Emmerdale recently after going missing, it soon became clear to those closest to him that he was struggling badly with his mental health and he seriously planned to take his own life in powerful scenes that aired in the soap last week.
While Marlon (Mark Charnock) managed to persuade him not to go through with this, Paddy couldn’t reassure him that he wouldn’t have the same thoughts again. All he could honestly say was that he wouldn’t do it that day: ‘I can’t promise anything, but I’m here now.’
So with Paddy physically safe at the Woolpack, Chas (Lucy Pargeter), Marlon and Bear (Joshua Richards) were terrified about what might happen next at the start of tonight’s episode. Heartbreakingly, Marlon revealed he’d sat up all night at his bedroom window which has a view of the Woolpack’s front door, just to make sure his friend didn’t leave the house.
So the three of them were heartened when Paddy got up in the morning, took his medication and told them he was going to see a therapist, having been persuaded that he needed to pay to see someone privately because it was so urgent.
When Emmerdale decided to take on this storyline, they knew it was essential that they portrayed Paddy’s experience realistically.
‘Despite him being popular and having lots of friends and family around him, Paddy starts to feel increasingly lonely, isolated and overwhelmed by his feelings and this leads to him having some very dark thoughts,’ producer Laura Shaw told us.
‘We’ve worked really closely with Samaritans and Andy’s Man Club every step of the way through this story and their incredible support and insight has helped us to shape Paddy’s journey into a true reflection of what thousands of men sadly go through every year.’
Part of the realism of the story is to show that, although Paddy’s journey is now one towards recovery and there is light at the end of the tunnel, there will also be bumps along the way.
In tonight’s episode, while everyone had high hopes for Paddy’s meeting with the therapist, when he came back he told them he wouldn’t be going again. They just didn’t connect, he explained.
While Marlon, Chas and Bear were downcast to hear this, Paddy reassured them that he would keep trying until he found a therapist who suited him better.
Lorna Fraser, of Samaritans’ media advisory team, told us that there are many ways that people in Paddy’s situation can access support.
‘Samaritans is there 24/7. There’s lots of different community groups. Andy’s Man Club is a really good example of bringing men together to talk about these issues and share these experiences. Lots of ways that people can reach out for help – formal sources of support like counselling, going to your GP, going down that route,’ she said.
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