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'Enders bipolar plot helps fans seek advice

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'Enders bipolar plot helps fans seek advice

BBC

BBC soap EastEnders has been credited for an increase in the number of young people seeking help for bipolar disorder.

Last summer, Walford favourite Stacey Branning, played by 21-year-old Lacey Turner, was diagnosed with the condition following a period of erratic behaviour. Her symptoms became apparent as she struggled to cope with the death of her best friend Danielle Jones (Lauren Crace).

Doctors from MDF The BiPolar Organisation have now reported that the number of young people calling helplines over the condition has doubled in the past six months, increasing from an average of 400 to 800 per day.

A representative for the charity told BBC Newsbeat: "Calls doubled since EastEnders started the bipolar storyline with Stacey Slater. Having complex bipolar issues put in front of eight million viewers four times a week can only increase public health education."

Meanwhile, the BDRN (Bipolar Disorder Research Network) has announced that it had 8,536 visitors to its website within 48 hours after an EastEnders Revealed episode focused on Stacey's problems.

The drama's producers worked closely with a number of mental health charities while developing the storyline to ensure that it was portrayed as realistically as possible.

In November, the programme took top honours at the Mental Health Media awards for its handling of the plotline.

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