Monday, 30 April 2018

Aidan Connor's suicide - some thoughts

Today, at the Home Cinema in Manchester, blogger Michael Adams and I were invited to watch a delicious two hours of Coronation Street. On a Monday! What a treat. Oh, and lunch included. Even more of a treat.

The episodes (without adverts) were truly remarkable: emotional, sublimely acted and beautifully written.

So, to the main business of the day. The episodes we watched concerned Aidan Connor principally and the lead up to his suicide. On the day of his actual suicide, we see the factory staff waiting outside the factory complaining that Aidan hadn’t turned up to open the factory. There are various quips about Aidan being lazy, and it is dad Johnny who goes round to his flat and discovers the awful truth. Johnny’s grief is immediate and palpable.

Viewers may remember that Aidan contemplated suicide previously, but on learning that he could do something good for Carla, in donating a kidney, he wanted to do that to reset the balance of the bad deeds that he believed he had committed. 

As the news of Aidan's death spreads, we see friends, work mates and family reacting to the news in their own ways. Heartbreakingly, just before Kate discovers the truth, she and Daniel Barlow are having fun in the Bistro dancing together and really enjoying themselves. It is Roy who arrives at the Bistro, sent by Carla to fetch Kate and Roy delivers the news. Kate’s reaction is surprising - she is beside herself with anger. She says that she will never forgive him for what he’s done.
One aspect of the episodes stood out to me in the aftermath of the suicide. Gathered in The Rovers, the factory staff are discussing the dramatic events of the day and the factory  is shut as a mark of respect. Beth says that she thinks suicide is a selfish act. Gina, who struggles with mental health, pounces on Beth and says that unless you have stood on that precipice, you cannot judge.

To echo Michael’s words on his blog post this evening, yes it is a serious issue, but Kate Oates andher team have approached Aidan’s suicide so sensitively. On the panel today after the screening were 2 people from The Samaritans, and Kate Oates herself worked at a charity for 2 years where she helped people who were contemplating suicide.

There are 84 people in the UK who commit suicide per week. The biggest killer of men up to the age of 45 is suicide. As Kate Oates herself said, if by highlighting this issue, we are all made more aware of the issue of suicide and thereby may spot that a friend/family member is struggling, then it makes it all worthwhile.

By Ruth Owen. @Ruth1722.

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