Coronation Street actress Julia Haworth has revealed how difficult it was playing a new mother suffering from post-natal depression.

Julia had the nation on tenterhooks in 2006 as her character, Claire Peacock, struggled following the birth of a baby son, Freddie.

Claire found it difficult to bond with her baby and, as her mental state weakened, she ended up being sectioned.

Julia, who became a mum in real life for the first time in July, told the Daily Mirror about how the hard-hitting storyline had affected her.

“I don’t normally take my work home, but with a storyline as harrowing as that, and knowing how it affects so many women, I couldn’t help it,” she said.

“I felt I had to portray it as realistically as possible. But after a distressing scene I’d get home and have another cry to let it all out.”

She went on: “I do think people still see post-natal depression as a taboo and don’t talk about it,” she continued. “I thought Coronation Street dealt with it fantastically, it showed that you can get better and life can go on.

“I got some wonderful letters from women saying that they had sought help after seeing it.”