Sands has recently been working with Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks on an ongoing storyline which sadly sees character Mercedes McQueen’s baby stillborn.

The storyline follows Mercedes as she suffers the death of her baby and the devastating impact it has on her and her family’s lives.

Sands’ Bereavement Support Services Manager, Erica Stewart, has advised the team at Hollyoaks to help ensure the storyline is accurate and sensitive.

“We’re pleased to have been approached by the researchers and writers at Hollyoaks for advice to help to ensure that this heart-breaking storyline, that sees character Mercedes’ baby stillborn, is portrayed truthfully and sensitively.

“Stillbirth is not rare and it’s a tragedy that can happen to anyone. Sadly thousands of babies die each year in the UK. In 2013, over 100 babies every week were stillborn or died soon after birth, shattering the lives of expectant parents, their families and friends, and the people who have cared for them. We support anyone affected by the death of a baby, from when they find out their baby has died through to the weeks, months and years ahead.

“For a show like Hollyoaks with a youth focus to be covering this devastating experience is a brilliant way of raising awareness of the issues surrounding baby death among a younger audience who may have not otherwise come across them.

“It will also highlight the impact the death of a baby has not only on parents but also their families and friends,  thereby hopefully helping those who ever find themselves needing to support someone affected by the death of a baby feel more confident in doing so.

“We are aware that this may be upsetting to watch for many bereaved families, so our helpline will be open during and after each related episode on 020 7436 5881 or helpline@uk-sands.org,” says Erica.

The storyline began airing on 30 October on E4 and 2 November on Channel 4. Sands are offering extended helpline opening hours while the storyline airs. As well as the usual hours of 9:30-17:30 Monday-Friday and 18:00-22:00 Tuesday and Thursday, the helpline will be opening on:

Monday 2 November 19:00-22:00
Tuesday 3 November 18:00-22:00
Wednesday 4 November 19:00-22:00
Thursday 5 November 18:00-22:00
Friday 6 November 19:00-22:00
Monday 9 November 19:00-22:00
Tuesday 10 November 18:00-22:00
Thursday 12 November 18:00-22:00
Friday 13 November 19:00-22:00
Monday 16 November 19:00-22:00

Telephone the Sands Helpline on 0207 436 5881 or email at helpline@uk-sands.org