A MENTAL health activist from Wilmslow has featured in a series of short films exploring the real-life events which helped inform some of TV show Hollyoaks’ most powerful storylines.

One episode in the digital series, which is titled Hollyoaks: IRL, focuses on John Junior, whose life was saved after watching a mental health and suicide-related storyline on the programme starring Ashley Taylor Dawson.

John, who uses the they/them pronouns, has spoken openly about how the Hollyoaks storyline around the subject of suicide helped to save their life, and now they even have a film in development which they hope will go on to help other people in a similar way.

John originally spoke to actor Ashley Taylor Dawson, who played the character Darren Osborne in the Hollyoaks plotline, on BBC Radio 5 Live, where they thanked him.

“If that storyline hadn’t happened I would not be here,” John told Ashley on air.

“You have saved my life.”

Following the interview, Hollyoaks script advisor Angela Samata said: “Hearing the interview with John was just incredible, to hear that we’d got it so right, and knowing that TV has got a huge part to play.”

Angela is one of several industry professionals who has offered support for John’s film The Mood is Temporary which John hopes will start shooting next year.

And not only has John featured in the Hollyoaks digital series, but they have also been named as ambassador for the charity SOS Silence of Suicide.

The charity said: “SOS are delighted to welcome mental health activist John Junior, also known as John and Charlie’s Journey, onboard as an ambassador.

“John is a passionate mental health activist, fighting for better mental health therapy, working closely with charities, lobbying MPs, and raising awareness.

“John created the suicide and mental illness awareness movement ‘John and Charlie’s Journey’ in 2019, and in 2020 the ‘(DBT) dialectical behaviour therapy for all campaign’ helping to ensure anyone who is suicidal and has self-destructive behaviours, could access this treatment more widely on the NHS throughout the UK.

“As a media personality, John credits Hollyoaks cast member Ashley Taylor Dawson with saving his life.

“John, who believes mood is temporary, is well known for their upbeat personality, and says ‘men don’t like to talk because it make us look weak, but we’re not weak, we’re human, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to reach out for help’.”