Hollyoaks and depression – part 2

POSTED ON 08/06/2020 IN Mental Health In TV & Film

Carrying on from part 1 of my blog that spoke about the Channel 4 soap opera, Hollyoaks, and its current depression storyline, this blog will discuss some of the developments that have happened since then.

A week is a long time in the world of soap, even when we are rationed to only two episodes a week. This is to allow for the soap not to run out of episodes and therefore be kept on the air due to the team not filming because of the global pandemic.  As I’ve previously said in part 1, the character of Darren Osborne has recently opened up to his friend Kyle and his girlfriend Mandy about how he has been feeling, and that he thinks he has depression. However, he has yet to go to a doctor about how he is feeling. Many people find it difficult to talk to a GP about their mental health, especially males, but there is support available, and help with how to start the conversation is in the references list below from the mental health charity, Mind.

I think it’s very interesting how Hollyoaks is focusing on the struggle Darren has with seeking help. After a while, he has now told a couple people about how he is feeling, but he is reluctant to seek professional help. Darren also recently considered suicide, but called Kyle who helped him. It will be interesting to see what happens next, and what will allow for Darren to realise that going to see his GP about how he has been feeling is the best thing to do because he can then start to have the help he needs to deal with his depression.

Another interesting layer to this storyline is a recent development in how the show is realistic in showing the unfortunate reality of how some people view depression. Darren and Kyle’s friendship is relatively new, but Darren’s best friend, and another long-standing character (although he did leave the show for fifteen years) is the character of Luke Morgan. Long-time fans of the show will know that Luke has also had his own mental health struggles for a variety of reasons, but I found it very interesting that he is the character the writers have used to show how not to interact with someone who is talking about their mental health.

In a recent scene, Luke was asking Darren about what was going on as Mandy had been worried about him, and Darren then opened up to him about how he had been feeling. Luke’s response was rightly described by the Hollyoaks social media posts as ‘unhelpful and quite dangerous’. This is because after Darren describes what he has been feeling and how he doesn’t know how to be happy anymore, the look on his face was shock; Luke questioned why he felt like it and devalued it to just being the way life is, with the responsibilities Darren has. Darren tried to make Luke understand, which he didn’t have to do with Kyle and Mandy, and Luke said ‘Darren, you’re my mate and I love you, but give me one good reason why you should be depressed. You’ve got a beautiful wife, kids who love you, a business. It’s not like you’re dying, is it?’

That last comment refers to Luke having been told a few months ago that he has a terminal condition and has probably less than ten years to live. Darren even then apologises to Luke and says that he shouldn’t have said anything about it. I watched this scene shaking my head; I really wanted Luke to support Darren but he instead made him feel like what he is feeling doesn’t matter because it could be a lot worse. Symptoms of depression can include having suicidal thoughts, so I think it shows the misinformation Luke has about depression and how serious it is, especially if help isn’t sought. On the other hand, a part of me was glad that Hollyoaks wrote this scene because it shows how wrong people can be about depression, and alongside Darren’s scenes, will highlight how wrong Luke’s reaction was.

I will be writing the third part of this blog soon as having looked at the spoilers, this storyline will be continuing with much more to come that will end up affecting lots of different characters.


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 Sarah Keeping MBPsS MSc PgDip GDip BA (Hons) Cert HE

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