As we find out that Sean has been hiding a secret for years and has been contemplating taking his own life.
On Friday, Sean made a surprise return to Walford after learning his mum, Jean, had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and tonight he returned to Albert Square intent on putting his previous wrongdoings, right.
However, after a tense confrontation with Jack, Sean discovered his ex-wife, Roxy, died two years ago. Stunned by the news, it soon becomes clear that Sean has been contemplating taking his own life.
Later this week we'll learn that Sean has been struggling with a secret he’s been hiding for years and as he opens up to his mum, and sister, Stacey, the impact the secret has had on Sean is evident.
EastEnders have worked very closely with Samaritans to ensure Sean’s storyline has been portrayed as sensitively as possible. Lorna Fraser, who leads on Samaritans’ Media Advice Service said:
“Given the sensitivities with covering the topic of suicide, we were pleased that EastEnders worked with us on Sean’s storyline. It’s important that we raise awareness of the issues surrounding suicide and drama can play a powerful role in this. Carefully developed storylines can help to generate discussion and can prompt viewers, who may be suffering in silence, to speak out and seek help.
Sean’s story particularly highlights the importance of talking about our feelings, when we’re struggling to cope. If you’re worried about a friend you think may be struggling it’s alright to ask them if they’re ok, for some it can be a huge relief to know that someone’s spotted they may be going through a difficult time and they’re there to listen.”
Whilst BBC's Head of Continuing Drama, Kate Oates, said "The return of Sean Slater gives us a unique opportunity to explore two different aspects of mental health: on the one hand, the results of a long-term and untreated depression; and on the other, a person who has had a lifetime of trying to understand the delicate balance of their own mental health - and is coming out winning.
The story is beautifully and intelligently played by Robert Kazinsky and Gillian Wright, both of whom cared deeply about getting it right, prompting discussion, and making a difference.”
EastEnders continues Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30pm and Friday at 8pm on BBC One
Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill.
For further information please contact the EastEnders press office on: 020 8228 8632