Coronation Street actor Shayne Ward has reached out to viewers of the soap and urged men to talk about their feelings, saying it "can and will save lives".

In a special hour-long episode to air on Wednesday (May 9), it will be discovered that his character Aidan Connor has taken his own life following a secret battle with depression.

On Monday, the actor tweeted that the statistics of male suicide are "hearbreaking" and encouraged viewers who are affected by the tragic storyline to seek help.

He wrote: "Over the last few days I've watched my Twitter feed be inundated with all your personal connections to suicide.

"My heart continues to break reading what you've all been through. The statistics are heartbreaking - 12 men a day, 84 men a week, 336 men a month.

"If you feel like you are alone, you are not! If you feel lost, you are not! If you feel unloved, you are not! If you feel powerless, you are not! Help is ALWAYS there. Talking about your feelings CAN and WILL save lives.

"I would like to thank Coronation Street and its amazing cast and crew/team for breaking the stigma and for using their platform to continue to raise awareness for male suicide.

"Talk - your voice will be heard!"

Ward has already recorded a video encouraging viewers to find helplines and advice if they were struggling.

Catherine Tyldesley, who plays Connor's ex-fiancee Eva Price, previously wrote on Instagram: "This week's episodes of Corrie will be difficult for many to watch. Myself included.

"We are all in some way affected by suicide. I firmly believe that this storyline will help so many people, and even save lives.

"We hope Aidan's story will encourage people to reach out and seek help, if they identify with Aidan's experience.

"And also encourage others to speak to someone, if they're worried they may be going through a tough time.

"These episodes are utterly compelling... heart breaking, informative and wonderfully written. I'm very proud to be part of a continuing drama that is brave enough to speak out and tackle such a subject..."

"The following charities are here to help you. There is always hope: @calmzone @samaritanscharity @mindcharity."

We need your consent to load this Instagram contentWe use Instagram to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can contact Pieta House 24/7 Helpline 1800 247 247 or the Samaritans Helpline 116 123.