This week, Normal People deals with the topic of suicide and the devastating effects it has on people who have lost someone close to them.
Viewers on BBC last night saw Paul Mescal, who plays Connell in Normal People, break down while speaking to a therapist. The scene should be seen as a triumph for mental health awareness as not only does it normalise asking for help, it sensitively displays the benefits of telling someone how you're feeling.
In the scene, Connell reveals to the therapist that he struggles to click with people before he is asked whether this is a new problem. Connell, who has moved from Sligo to study in Dublin's Trinity College, gradually begins to speak about how he felt while going through secondary school in his home town.
He goes on to say that he used to feel alienated among his group of friends and that when he moved to the capital, his expectation to meet like-minded people never really came to pass.
It's often said of young men that we aren't great at telling people what's on our minds and while watching, I for one felt I could relate to some of Connell's feelings. In just three minutes, Mescal and the Normal People team displayed to millions of viewers the importance of speaking out about things that are weighing us down. It's not often that I'll reach out to an actor to praise their work but last night I felt compelled to do so...
— James Fenton (@fentonjames16) May 25, 2020
I wasn't the only one, with Twitter users rushing to commend the show and Mescal in particular...
Connell’s sadness, grief and mental health issues in this episode of @NormalPeopleBBC are just heartbreaking. What a performance by @mescal_paul 👏🏻. I’ve seen it before but still cried again. This show just hits me in the feelings! 💖 @BBCOne #NormalPeople
— Annabel (@only1annabel) May 25, 2020
Honest to god, Paul Mescal deserves every award going for episode 10 of #NormalPeople and his performance in that therapist’s office 💔
— Heather (@iamheatherh) May 25, 2020
Ok so just give @mescal_paul every acting accolade there is for the last 10 minutes of that scene! Phenomenal and so so humbling that male mental health is being brought into the spotlight! Astonishing!#NormalPeople
— Nick (@NicksiPhoto) May 25, 2020
I wasnt sure I'd be into #NormalPeople, thought it was going to be a bit too soppy for me, but it was excellent. @mescal_paul performance is phenomenal, The therapy scene in particular was incredibly powerful. Still finishes like a defender though #nosebleed #dodgyGK#someblock
— Gerard Mc Cormack (@GerMcCormack) May 26, 2020
Mescal and his co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones have won universal praise for their performances in the series and while many of the headlines have been centred around whether the pair's sex scenes are "too much", this week Normal People gave us another reason to call it one of the most important TV shows in years.
The clip in question from episode 10 of Normal People can be found below...
— Normal People (@NormalPeopleBBC) May 24, 2020
If you're affected by the content in Normal People this week, you can call these numbers:
Pieta House - 1800 247 247
Samaritans - 116 123