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Joe Tracini fronts mental health documentary

Joe Tracini sitting in front of a mirror

Joe Tracini played a number of hard-hitting storylines in Hollyoaks as character Dennis Savage, but he returns to our screens next week living out a real life situation where he opens up on his mental health struggles.

In Joe Tracini: Me and the Voice in My Head the 35-year-old speaks candidly about living with Borderline Personality Disorder [BDP] and the problems he has with Mick.

Mick is the voice inside Tracini’s head, always trying to cause pain, encouraging him to self harm and unnecessary distress.

In the Channel 4 documentary Tracini opens up about being sexually abused as a child.

‘On the film, you are watching me saying that out loud for the first time," he tells viewers.

‘I’m sick of being the only person who knows that that happened but also, it’s terrifying. As you can see, I’ve not done much work on talking about it. But at least I’m in a position now to maybe be able to help myself.

‘I’ve not said that out loud for 29 years. I’ve not given myself any room to let people help. If I haven’t told somebody something, they can’t help. I don’t want to feel like this any more.’

Tracini’s history of mental health reads like a harrowing Hollyoaks script, after being diagnosed with BDP in 2019, he has tried to take his life five times and experienced a number of panic attacks.

Writing for Metro.co.uk in 2021 he inspired readers living with a mental health condition.

Tracini said at the time: ‘You are definitely not hopeless. You might feel like you are, because if you’re looking for hope it means you had some but you lost it.

You might have less hope now than you’ve had in the past, but you’re not hopeless.’

The film also sees Tracini speaking to his family and medical professionals in an attempt to have a better understanding of BDP, but Mick has not disappeared, he’s still there putting obstacles in the way.

But there are lighter moments, including a dark comedy sketch featuring a video call between Tracini and comedian Dawn French, where he tells the Vicar of Dibley star: 'I have filmed a documentary for Channel 4. It's about my personality disorder and the fact that I keep thinking about killing myself. But it's funny!'

French asks how she can contribute to the film.

Tracini replies:  'I was wondering if you'd be in the scripted bits with me playing the director?'

To which French responds: : 'Well thank you for thinking of me but I've actually got quite a lot on...'

She then adds: 'Well I'm sort of scared to say no...', as Joe quips back: 'What because I'm actively suicidal?'

French then asks:  'Look if I don't do it are you going to kill yourself?'.

Tracini adds: 'Absolutely not', and the clip ends.

Tracini said: “most films about mental illness are, ironically, depressing. I’m a lot of things, but serious is rarely one of them. I think we can all agree that it’s not the easiest time to be alive, and with things getting worse faster than I can lower my standards, I’m very grateful to Channel 4 & Hungry Bear Media for letting me tell my story my way.” 

[ Me and the Voice in My Head is on Channel 4, Monday 13th May at 10pm, and available online. ]

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