Ian's breakdown - tackling mental health issues

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The past few months have not been easy for Ian - his finances in ruins, his volatile relationship with Mandy... not to mention her war with his daughter Lucy. But more than anything, it's the earth-shattering revelation that Ben killed Heather which has tipped the balance. Not to mention the pressure to keep Ben and Phil's terrible secret...

Suddenly, Ian's behaviour has become manic, volatile. He's a desperate man, who's on the edge, and those around him aren't reading the signs...

We spoke to Time To Change, an anti-stigma campaign, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which challenges attitudes and discrimination around mental health. They worked with EastEnders on the storyline and told us:

"1 in 4 of us will at some point have a mental illness, so it's much more common than people think. Lots of different characters in EastEnders have mental health issues - there's been the Stacey storyline and Jean's ongoing mental health issues.

And now it's happened to Ian - a businessman, a pillar of the community. It shows the variety of people and the different situations in which a mental health problem can occur - anyone can fall ill at any time. No one's exempt."

Time To Change worked closely with the show to ensure that the portrayal of Ian's situation was accurate.

"At every step we wanted to include people with actual experience of depression. We put the researchers and scriptwriters in touch with someone who had experience of what Ian was going through and he was really able to advise from a personal level to make sure that it was accurately done.This really helped to shape the character that we are starting to see on our screens."

We hope that an accurate portrayal of what it's like to have a mental health problem, showing that this can happen to any member of society such as a business man or a family man, just like Ian, will break down the barriers and help and eliminate the stigma and taboo around the issue."

Discover more about Time To Change's campaign

Find out more about the early signs of mental health problems

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