Hollyoaks will explore the mental health condition OCD as Diane Hutchinson becomes increasingly overwhelmed
Hollyoaks has confirmed that Diane Hutchinson, played by Alex Fletcher, will be overwhelmed in her efforts to protect her family, as part of a new story that will explore the mental health condition OCD.
OCD, short for obsessive compulsive disorder, is a mental health condition in which people have recurring thoughts and repetitive behaviour that they can’t control.
Diane started to display signs of OCD earlier this year, when she discovered she was pregnant. She became increasingly worried that the father could be Tony’s previously estranged father, Edward Hutchinson (Joe McGann).
High-flying surgeon Edward was determined to steal Diane from Tony. He began a long campaign of manipulation and gaslighting as he groomed her into a having a relationship with him.
In the coming episodes, viewers will see how the lasting impact of Edward’s control is affecting Diane’s mental health.
Speaking about the storyline, Alex Fletcher who has played much-loved character Diane since 2010, said: "Diane has been through so much already but it’s always an honour to get an issue storyline that I hope I can do justice to and I’m intrigued to learn more about the disorder.
"Like many people, I've heard of OCD but was shocked to hear how much it can inhibit people's lives. That's why it's so important to get the facts out there, especially during the current pandemic when it's effecting even more people."
Alex continued: "Diane loves Tony and her children more than anything and I think she's felt partly responsible for letting Edward into their lives and putting them all in harms way. She now feels an overwhelming need to protect them all and this comes out as obsessive behaviour, which is so consuming for Diane."
WORKING WITH OCD CHARITY
Hollyoaks is working with charity organisation OCD-UK, which measured a 40% rise in service stats from people contacting the charity for support in the early days of the pandemic.
Ashley Fulwood, CEO of OCD-UK, explained: “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder goes far beyond the cleaning rituals that most people perceive when they think of OCD. For the person suffering, those rituals can be driven by a deluge of unwanted, graphic, intrusive thoughts and worries about harm coming to a loved one. Whilst OCD is treatable, if left untreated this anxiety disorder can have devastating consequences on those that suffer, impacting upon careers, education and relationships.
"For some women, pregnancy and the associated worries and concerns can exacerbate OCD to the point of crisis. This is what we'll see with Diane in Hollyoaks and why it's so important to highlight the signs and help others."
Hollyoaks is shown weekdays on C4 at 6.30pm with the next episode following on E4 at 7pm
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Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.