Coronation Street star Beverley Callard revealed today she has been receiving treatment for a nervous breakdown and depression.
The actress, who plays Rovers Return landlady Liz McDonald, was absent from the soap for five months last year. Viewers were told Liz had jetted to Spain to stay with her son Andy.
But Callard's disappearance from Weatherfield was today revealed to be as a result of a "serious breakdown" for which she received treatment in the Priory Clinic, a soap spokeswoman said.
The actress, who is still being treated as an outpatient and is said to be "well on the road to recovery", has teamed up with mental health charity Mind to raise awareness of mental health issues and depression.
She said: "I have been speaking to the mental health charity Mind about lending my support to the work they do - I feel it is really important to try and help lift the stigma that makes life so difficult for the one in four people who experience mental health problems."
Callard thanked her friends, family and colleagues for their support and the media for respecting her privacy during her illness.
She said: "Being able to recover out of the media spotlight has hugely helped me and meant that I could return to work last year whilst still receiving treatment as an outpatient. Now I feel able to speak about what I went through and thank everyone for their support."
Paul Farmer, CEO at Mind, said: "We are so thankful to Bev for offering Mind her ongoing support. Her story is testament that people who experience mental distress can recover, and can continue to lead full and rewarding lives. We hope that her inspiring story will help to raise awareness about an issue which is sadly still misunderstood.
"The support Bev received from her friends, family and ITV had a huge part to play in the steps she took back to good health. We encourage anyone who may be suffering in silence to reach out for help and urge those that they turn to, to be there for them without judgment."
A spokeswoman for Coronation Street said: "Everyone at ITV has been behind Beverley through this very difficult time. We are extremely proud of the huge progress she has made and delighted that she is back on screen at the centre of the show and we continue to support her."Reuse content