Jean (played by Gillian Wright) has now been hospitalised after a months-long bipolar struggle which saw EastEnders favourite Stacey Slater (Lacy Turner) struggling to cope with her mother’s condition. In heartbreaking EastEnders scenes, Jean realised she needed support and eventually agreed to be sectioned. Before this though, Lily (Lillia Turner) suffered the brunt of Jean’s illness when she told her granddaughter she could “see” the bipolar in her, too. Devastated, the teenager began taking Jean’s medication to prevent the illness. With Jean’s prediction still causing her distress, could Lily run away? Speaking exclusively to Expess.co.uk, Dr Elena Touri delved into how the mental illness can impact a family.
The psychologist explained: “Unfortunately, this [supporting families of patients] is an area that is generally under-resourced in mental health.”
She continued: “While we have Carer Assessments for people who are caring for someone with a severe mental health difficulty, overall we could be doing much more – both in terms of creating more resources in the community and also more funding for psychological support.”
She talked about helping someone through, detailing ways families can support the person going through the frightening condition.
“Be validating of the person’s perspective but at the same time, it’s important to clearly and consistently express your concern to them in a kind way,” she said.
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“Remember that when people are experiencing certain episodes they can be at high risk of engaging in dangerous and harmful behaviours.
“If you are seriously concerned about their safety, it’s important to speak to a GP as they may need to have a mental health assessment.”
When asked about how long a typical patient will stay in hospital with bipolar, the doctor replied: “It can vary – it could be from days to weeks to months.
“It depends on how quickly an episode subsides, their response to medication/therapy and the assessment that they will be safe outside of hospital.”
When Lily questioned her, Jean replied: “I know what to look for. I know all of the signs.
“I saw them all in Stacey and I see them all in you. It breaks my heart to say this, Lily. But one day, you’re going to be just like me.”
Heartbroken, Lily went to the extreme measures of taking Jean’s medication, frightened she would develop symptoms.
Stacey eventually realised and Lily was taken to hospital to make sure she wouldn’t suffer any long-term damage from the medication.
Although Jean is now getting the help she needs, the family endured a traumatic time and have done in the past when Stacey has also been unwell.
With Lily struggling with the fact she may also develop the illness, and wanting to shield her family from further stress, it’s possible she will decide to flee.
She might end up packing her bags and leaving Walford as a way of helping her family.
Will Stacey be able to track down her daughter and reassure her before she finds herself in danger?
EastEnders continues on Monday at 7.30pm on BBC One.