It's that time of year again, when we all join together to fight stigma and raise awareness of OCD. Although raising awareness is something we focus on all year round through our services, OCD Awareness Week is a great opportunity to further highlight the true nature of OCD, and help erase some of the stereotypes and misconceptions often associated with the disorder. Created by the International OCD Foundation, this year OCD Awareness week will be taking place from the 9th-15th October, we want you all to get involved with this campaigning week - together we can fight the stigma.
Last year we launched the first ever Youth e-Helpline, an instant messaging service for young people with OCD. It has been fantastic to see so many young people reaching out for support through this service, but we still fear there are far too many young people struggling in silence. That is why, this OCD Awareness Week, we want your help to reach out to young people, by completing a small task (with hopefully a big result!).
This OCD at uni leaflet was written by one of our lovely volunteers with the help of our Youth Advisory Panel, and has been really well received at the freshers' fairs we have attended this year, but imagine if this resource was available at all universities across the country? That's where you come in!
What we want...
We would like you to send the OCD at uni leaflet, along with a letter (we have included an example template letter below which you could copy and paste) to your local university and ask them to print it or save it and keep it with their mental health resources. Each university will have a support and wellbeing centre (though it may come under a different name) and usually a quick internet search can provide you with the right contact details to send this information to. By doing this, we hope that anyone who seeks support at university will be able to access this resource and be better equipped to get the correct support during their time studying.
Similarly, why not send our OCD Youth e-Helpline flyer to your local school or sixth form college, so more people can find out about this service and seek support.
What else is happening...
If you are a regular Twitter user, you may have already joined in with a regular tweet chat held by one of our wonderful volunteers, Ashley Curry, who uses the hashtag #askashocd. We will be joining Ash on Tuesday evening at 8pm for his regular chat - topic to be confirmed!
During OCD Awareness Week, we will also be hosting our own twitter chat on Wednesday 12th October, with some of the staff here at the Charity, including our National Advocacy Manager Collette Byrne. Earlier on this year, Collette hosted a Twitter chat, and we had so many questions coming in, we thought it was about time we hosted another one. Whether it's a housing issue, difficulties accessing treatment, a work related problem or any difficulties you're experiencing because of your OCD/BDD, join us on Wednesday 12th October at 1pm on Twitter (@ocdaction) and Collette will try and answer all of your questions.
The last of our Twitter chats will take place on Thusday evening (13th October), when we will be joining our friends at Maternal OCD for a perinatal OCD and breastfeeding chat. We hope this chat will help mothers battling OCD know that they are not alone, and that there is lots of support and treatment available. Follow the chat using this hashtag #OCDbfing at 8pm on Thursday evening! As part of this Twitter chat, Maternal OCD have put together these really useful resources about perinatal OCD and breastfeeding.
World Mental Health Day
As well as OCD Awareness Week, October is also host to World Mental Health Day which is taking place on Monday 10th October. This day is a wonderful opportunity to get the world talking about all mental health difficulties, including OCD, BDD, Hoarding Issues and other anxiety disorders. Perhaps you could have a five minute conversation with someone on Monday and tell them a little bit about OCD, or point a friend in the direction of their local support group, or even just ask someone who is struggling how they are. All conversations about mental health, no matter how small, can make a BIG difference.
And don't forget...
October is a really exciting month for mental health awareness, but we are just as excited for February, when our annual OCD Week of Action will be taking place. This will be our fourth Week of Action, and the planning for this action packed campaigning week is well underway, so watch this space for more information about how you can get involved!