Emmerdale: Zak Dingle: Depression
In 2012, ITV's Emmerdale showed how difficult it can be for men to seek support for their mental health. Viewers watched as Zak Dingle (played by Steve Halliwell) struggled to come to terms with his depression, and to admit to his friends and family that he was feeling low. We know that men are far less likely to seek support or ask for help when they experience a mental health problem. By showing the supportive reaction Zak got from his family and friends, Emmerdale aimed to encourage more men to come forward and openly address their mental health problems.
John shares his thoughts
John is the Managing Director of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North. We asked him to tell us why they decided to create this storyline for Zak.
“Seeing buff Yorkshireman Zak going on that journey and finally reaching out for help from his family and professionally was a hugely powerful message: ‘if even Zak can ask for help then what’s stopping me?'"
Lawrence shares his thoughts
Lawrence is mental health nurse who uses his expertise to independently advise programme makers on how to depict mental health problems on screen. Lawrence advised on Zak's story and we asked him to share why he thought Zak’s story was so powerful.