melissa claire egan black shirt yr
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

Please be aware that this story covers a potentially sensitive topic for some readers.

While many people may think of soaps as a medium known for telling sometimes wild stories of love, betrayal and corporate intrigue, what non-daytime lovers fail to realize is how great the shows are at tackling real, human stories. That’s what The Young and the Restless is doing right now with Chelsea’s battle with anxiety, depression and suicide.

Melissa Claire Egan’s performance has been heart wrenching, but on top of that, it’s also, hopefully, helped folks.

That’s something that she discussed recently on The Talk, saying that Chelsea’s story right now has “been very serious and very heavy, but also really relevant, unfortunately, because it’s something that affects so many people. Our writers and Josh Griffith, our head writer, really wanted to tell this story and hopefully make an impact.”

She was, she admits, a bit in shock when she first learned that they’d be headed in this direction, but also honored to be trusted to handle such sensitive and important material. Chelsea’s had some wild adventures in her eleven years on the show, Egan noted, but nothing has been quite as important to tell as this one.

“I think it’s so important to get a conversation going,” she shared, “even though it can be uncomfortable.”

She and the folks at the show worked with the head of the Suicide Prevention Association, Dr. Dan Reidenberg, to get the story right and to understand better what Chelsea and folks around the world are going through. She and Dr. Reidenberg exchanged texts and hopped on a few Zoom calls as she tried to wrap her brain around how Chelsea, as a mom, especially, could have reached this point in her despair.

“He really taught me a lot,” she explained. “You’re in so much pain that your brain can’t recognize who you love anymore. And I thought that was so heartbreaking.”

As incredible as it’s been to tell the story, Egan continued, hearing from viewers has been the truly amazing part of it. People have been reaching out to her online and on social media, sharing how they, too, lost a loved one to suicide or even just letting her know that her story helped them to understand their own emotions and recognize depression.

That’s when our hearts really went out, as co-host Sheryl Underwood reached out to grab Egan’s hand and thank her for telling the story as she related her own experience with suicide. Her husband, sadly, took his own life.

“You doing this,” Underwood said, “I think it’s going to help a lot of people. It’s going to help those who are maybe feeling that way, and those who are surviving something. So I just want to thank you for doing your due diligence and really putting in the work to play this role as an actor.”

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.

Take a look at the clip below yourself. And as the tweet notes, there’s always help out there if you need or want it.

Take a look at our photo gallery of Chelsea’s life in Genoa City to better understand how she reached this point.