Backing for Hayley

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A TOWN charity has given its blessing to a controversial soap story line which sees one of its most popular characters take her own life.

Viewers will be glued to their sets tonight as Coronation Street’s Hayley Cropper, played by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, decides to kill herself after suffering from cancer.

Her and her co-star David Neilson visited the Mail back in 2007 and had their pictures taken with a copy of the Hartlepool Mail in Wesley Square.

Crisis charity Samaritans, which has a branch in Middlesbrough that has helped dozens of people from Hartlepool, said the scenes were being shot in a “safe and responsible” way.

A Samaritans spokeswoman said: “There is extensive research which demonstrates that inappropriate portrayal, or reporting, of suicide can lead to imitative or ‘copycat’ behaviour among vulnerable people. For this reason, Samaritans publish media guidelines on the portrayal of suicide and has been working with the media for more than two decades.

“Samaritans provides expert advice and guidance to news media and programme makers on how to safely cover this very sensitive subject.

“We were pleased that Coronation Street came to us for guidance on their storyline of character ‘Hayley’ ending her life, as a result of her terminal illness.

“It is important that programme makers continue to consult with us, whenever touching on suicide as a subject matter.”

“The consequence of not getting it right poses significant risk, we can help make sure this is done in a safe and responsible way.”