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(Picture: Lime Pictures)

For years, Hollyoaks has been running mental health storylines using its #DontFilterFeelings campaign and breaking boundaries with issues such as schizoaffective disorder, abuse and bulimia. But boss Bryan Kirkwood has explained that he feels the show should responsibly show that not all stories have happy endings which is why he decided that Lily Drinkwell would die from self harm after Lauren McQueen announced her plans to leave the show.

Admitting that it was a hard decision to make and not one that the show took lightly, Bryan told Metro.co.uk that he was anticipating a strong reaction to the outcome but hopes that it will raise awareness not just of the dangers and impact of self harm on the inidividual but on those left behind too.

With 1 in 3 cases of sepsis cases ending in death and an average of 10% of sepsis cases resulting from self harm, the statistics are more terrifying than many realise.

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Inevitably Lily had to have a sad ending but Bryan hopes that the legacy of such a devasating end will be to raise discussion around the topic and highlight the serious risks.

He told Metro.co.uk: The best stories come from real lives – Annie Clements on our team has teenagers and the concept of group self harm was something that was part of their world and when I heard about it, it was utterly terrifying. We know as a show we needed to tackle this storyline but do it responsibly and truthfully and to avoid triggering or encouraging the behaviour.

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It became a story about family, friendship and love and has spanned for 18 months – and I think its one of the best we have ever done. Killing Lily off was of the scariest things to discuss but we eventually reached the decision that the character should die as a result of her sepsis through self harm.

Its an incredibly difficult story to tell – to get it wrong is simply not an option. We have told many successful mental health storylines over the years but these characters all found solutions and recovery.

In reality that cant always be the case so we found it the right decision that Lily would not have a happy ending. In the wake of this, we have to show authentic devastation as part of the aftermath while avoiding romanticising the reactions. We have to be extremely delicate so as not to trigger people into thinking thats how theyd want their family to feel. We have consulted charities and experts and survivors throughout this entire process.

Lily and Romeo prepare to leave Hollyoaks
(Picture: Lime Pictures)

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