Why The Young and the Restless' Josh Griffith wanted to tell Connor's OCD tale

Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2024 11:41:19 AM
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The Young and the Restless' OCD story sends an important message about kids' mental health

While soaps have tackled various mental health issues in the past, The Young and the Restless is doing something groundbreaking in 2024 -- telling the story of an adolescent with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and breaking stigmas associated with the disorder.

Chelsea and Adam's young son, Connor, was recently diagnosed with OCD and is currently in a treatment facility while teaching his parents a thing or two about mental health issues. Chelsea already had her own challenges in 2022 when her depression led to a suicide attempt. Knowing she has suffered from mental health issues and the toll it put on her son led to Chelsea blaming herself for Connor's problems.

Y&R has partnered with The Kids Mental Health Foundation to tell the story right, but Head Writer and Executive Producer Josh Griffith knows from personal experience how emotional it can be having a child with OCD. His daughter was diagnosed with the disorder when she was 26, but the symptoms were there long before that.

"It was really important to me [to tell this story]," Griffith told TVLine after a panel with The Kids Mental Health Foundation and the Mental Health Story Coalition. "There's been such a misunderstanding of what OCD is -- it's often the brunt of a joke, 'Oh, my OCD is acting up today!' -- when it's so much more complex and terrifying than that."

Griffith explained that he runs aspects of the OCD story by representatives from the foundation and is relieved when they tell him he is getting it right. However, "I had firsthand experience I was drawing from, so it was gratifying to get feedback from them saying, 'This is very realistic.' And I'm like, I know, I've lived it," he said.

So far, Griffith said he has received rewarding feedback for this story from people recognizing their own self in Connor. He said some of those people are finally able to seek their own diagnosis. He also teased that there is a lot more of this emotional story to tell.

"It's going to be a very emotional and ultimately gratifying journey to a better place for Connor psychologically," Griffith said. "But it only started in March, and we've got a good ways to go."

Griffith began his writing career on Santa Barbara in 1988. He has worked on numerous other soaps including As the World Turns, Days of our Lives, Sunset Beach, and One Life to Live, where he won the 1994 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing. He first joined Y&R in 2006 as a creative consultant and breakdown writer. A short time later, he was named co-executive producer. He was let go from the show in August 2008. In July 2012, he was rehired as head writer. The following year he resigned, reportedly over creative differences with then-executive producer Jill Farren Phelps. He returned to Y&R in August 2018 as a supervising producer, but by December 2018 he was the show's new head writer. From February 2019 to February 2023, he also held the title of co-executive producer, but in February 2023 he became the show's singular executive producer while also retaining his status as head writer.

Are you glad Y&R is educating viewers about mental health struggles? Are you fascinated by Connor's OCD story? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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