Adam Woodyatt – ‘It’s okay to feel s***’ – EastEnders star’s experience with mental health

Lorraine: Adam Woodyatt reveals when he will return to the Square

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After not being seen on EastEnders this entire year, the actor has been hitting the headlines for other reasons. Most recently rumours emerged that he might be one of the contestants in this year’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Although there is no official announcement from the actor himself, one insider revealed to The Sun that producers of the show were keen to sign the star up as it is “certain to be a huge hit with fans”. After appearing in more than 3,000 episodes, Woodyatt took the decision to have an “extended break” from Albert Square, leaving viewers wondering is this the end of Ian Beale?

Talking to the Metro, Woodyatt revealed that he won’t be back in the soap until at least next year, due to other commitments.He said: “I’m committed to touring with Looking Good Dead until the end of October. I’m then going to America because my daughter is getting married.“Then hopefully we’re going to pick the tour up and do some of the venues that were originally planned but that we hadn’t managed to get to. That’s likely to be January to April. And EastEnders might not want me back!”Within the soap, Ian was seen running away from Albert Square after onscreen wife Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) attempted to kill him in revenge for the death of her son Den.

Marking World Mental Health Day on October 10, the #itsokaytofeels*** campaign was started by mental health campaigner Susie Weaver for Young Minds UK – a mental health charity supporting young people.Together the campaign aims to spread the message that mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of, and that anyone can struggle. Playing Ian Beale, Woodyatt has personal experience of bad mental health and breakdowns. The star was praised by fans of the soap for his portrayal of a homeless and struggling Ian after he was jilted at the altar by his finance, and found out that his brother Ben Mitchell had killed Heather Trott. At the time of filming, EastEnders and Woodyatt worked closely with mental health charities such as Time to Change and Mind.

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Talking to the BBC, Kevin Shepherd described how he helped construct Ians heart-breaking storyline. He said: “I could draw on my own experiences and do my bit to make sure that Ian’s illness was portrayed accurately and as far as possible, realistic and believable.

“Mental illness is a massive umbrella covering a vast array of different diagnoses. One of the biggest challenges in creating awareness of mental health issues is breaking down the stereotypical way people think when confronted with the term ‘mental illness’ and Ian’s breakdown is just one of so many different ways that the illness can manifest itself.”

According to an NHS definition, individuals who suffer a mental breakdown lose their coping skill abilities. It explains that too much emotion for too long can start affecting the way you think.

One of the first things to be affected is your ability to concentrate and your memory for recent events.

The longer this goes on, the worse it gets and a “snowball” effect of confusion and misinterpretation becomes common under even the smallest amount of anxiety.Due to this inability to cope, mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and sometimes even psychosis can develop – which can lead to hallucinations and delusions.

The main symptoms of anxiety according to The Mayo Clinic are as follows:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having difficulty controlling worry.

Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety.However, there is always help at hand, and the NHS recommends getting in contact with a GP, mental health charity or the Samaritans if you are struggling with your mental health.

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