Albert Square isn’t the cheeriest place to be over Christmas — is it ever? — and this year it’s EastEnders favourite Stacey Branning who’s in for a particularly tough time.
Never one to shy away from hard-hitting storylines, the BBC soap is tackling the subject of postpartum psychosis over the festive season. Stacey (Lacey Turner), who already suffers from bipolar disorder, develops postpartum psychosis just weeks after giving birth to a baby boy.
According to Metro.co.uk, scenes have been filmed showing Stacey climbing onto the roof of the Queen Vic (the same roof her late husband Bradley Branning fell to his death from), convinced that her newborn baby could be the son of God. Her friend Martin Fowler climbs up to join her and plead with her to come down.
EastEnders‘ executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said the focus on Stacey’s mental health will be one of the “biggest storylines over Christmas and the beginning of 2016,” with the show exploring the effects her bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis have on her and her friends and family.
To ensure the storyline is handled in the most sensitive way the soap has consulted mental health and postpartum support charities, reports HuffPost UK.
Jenni Regan, senior media advisor at Mind, said: “We accompanied some of our supporters who have personal experience of postpartum psychosis to Albert Square to meet with the researchers, actors and writers. We have been involved with ongoing script consultation where the researchers send us different versions of the script and we feedback with comments and suggestions.”
“We have been impressed by the dedication EastEnders have shown in portraying postpartum psychosis sensitively,” Regan continued. “One of the main aims of our input into this storyline was to ensure that we challenge the myths surrounding this illness. This included the idea that women who have postpartum psychosis are always a danger to their children, that the illness is a form of postnatal depression and that women never recover. We also advised the programme to adopt a realistic timetable to ensure that Stacey does not become unwell and then recover in the space of a week.”
According to NCT, postpartum psychosis is a serious psychiatric illness that can affect one in 500 to 1,000 women who have a baby. While anyone who has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder has an increased risk of developing postpartum psychosis by some 25 to 50 percent, around half of all cases occur in women without any previous personal or family history of psychiatric illness.
For more information, help and support contact The UK Postpartum Psychosis Network.
EastEnders’ postpartum psychosis storyline will begin before Christmas.