EastEnders star Shona McGarty fighting anxiety over ‘frightening’ coronavirus lockdown

EastEnders actor Shona McGarty, who plays Whitney Dean in the BBC One soap, has spoken about her personal struggles with anxiety, as the number of deaths in the UK from coronavirus continues to climb.

She said: "It’s a very sad, uncertain, and frightening time for everyone at the moment.

"I have been keeping in contact with friends from work. We all speak regularly. I’m obviously keeping in contact with my family and friends via FaceTime etc.

"It’s so important to keep spirits up and communicate with each other. I live on my own with my 2 doggies Coco and Cece."

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The UK is currently in its second week of lockdown, with many businesses, schools and places of work closed.

However, Shona believes that discussing the challenges of mental health during this time will help other people.

The BBC actor has been using video chats to keep up-to-date with family members.

She continued to tell Metro.co.uk: "I would like to say, as someone who has suffered with anxiety, it’s so important that we can fearlessly speak out about our mental health at this time."

Adding that this is not a time to feel shame or fear over speaking out, she said: "If you know someone who suffers from mental health, or if you suffer, call someone.

"Keep in touch with friends. Talk about how you're feeling. You are NOT alone. This is a really difficult time for everyone."

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EastEnders will reduce the number of episodes it airs each week due to limitations with filming.

Other soaps, including Coronation Street and Emmerdale, have also brought down the number of times it broadcasts during these times.

Both ITV soaps have paused filming to limit the possible spread of coronavirus.

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While filming is off, Shona is keeping her spirits high with singing, exercising and even watching EastEnders.

"I’ve been singing in my kitchen a lot, exercising, playing with my dogs, and painting," she said.

"I’m trying to keep busy. EastEnders is on two nights a week, so of course I’ve been excited to watch."

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