Hollyoaks are launching a bulimia storyline for Cleo McQueen as her self doubt leads to her suffering from an eating disorder. The soap are working closely with the charity Beat to ensure that the portrayal of Nadine Mulkerrin’s new story is sensitively and accurately portrayed and it follows other mental health storylines including Scott’s depression and Lily’s self harm.
Since the breakdown of her relationship with Joel, Cleo has struggled to be happy. This is exacerbated when she decides she wants to get back with Joel over the festive period, but finds out that he has started a relationship with someone else.
Feeling isolated on New Year’s Eve, Cleo goes home and binges on food before purging for the first time.
Nadine explained: ‘I’m honoured to take on Cleo’s latest issue lead storyline. We’re working closely with Beat and I met a brave young woman who shared her own experiences with bulimia. I’ve also been doing my own research about bulimia in order to portray it accurately and responsibly.
‘Cleo’s bulimia is triggered by feeling like an outsider and it’s her way of regaining control when she’s struggling to cope. I really want to do the storyline justice and tell a powerful story to educate people about eating disorders.’
A spokesperson for Beat said: ‘We are aware media can play a big part in how eating disorders are perceived, influencing attitudes, beliefs and actions. For this reason we support Hollyoaks as the more we talk about these serious mental illnesses the better we can break down stigma and, in turn, encourage individuals to seek treatment as soon as possible.
‘The evidence is clear: treating people with eating disorders quickly gives the best possible chance of recovery. This is as true for adults as it is for children.’
According to Beat, over 1.25 million men and women in the UK are affected by eating disorders which can be triggered by a variety of factors such as genetic, psychological, environmental, social and biological influences.
The charity has found that sufferers face an average three-and-a-half-year delay between symptoms developing and treatment starting, even though the likelihood of a prolonged and fast recovery significantly decreases three years after falling ill.
You can find more information and support on eating disorders by visiting Beat’s website or calling their helpline in 0808 801 0677.
Cleo’s storyline will begin on Thursday 28th December on E4 at 7pm.
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