As 2017 draws to a close, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the highs and lows of the last year, and look forward into 2018 and the exciting things that we have coming up!
The year started on a high as we held our Annual General Meeting - an occasion where Members of OCD Action are invited to vote on important decisions for the Charity. We also heard from Trustee Professor David Veale who gave a really interesting talk entitled 'A Psychological Understanding of OCD'.
Just one week later, it was all systems go as we held our OCD Week of Action, a week long campaign where we encourage people to take action to fight OCD. The focus of the campaign this year was reaching local communities, and we did that by sending out action packs filled with activities and information for people to wear and share in their local area. We also held Twitter chats with OCD experts, attended local awareness events, and appeared in many local news outlets.
As we approached the summer, we were overwhelmed by the amount of community fundraising that had already taken place, and it was not about to slow down any time soon! Collectively, people walked hundreds of miles, ran multiple 10ks, half marathons and full marathons, baked cakes, gave up alcohol, put on gigs and crawled through mud - all to raise awareness and funds to help support people affected by OCD. Even our Trustee, Professor David Veale, held a Charity gig with his big Jazz Band Bedlam! It was a truly triumphant year for community fundraising, and next year is shaping up to be just as exciting!
As autumn fell, we held our 5th Facilitator Day in Birmingham, an event where all support groups facilitators are invited to meet for informative talks, workshops and networking opportunities. It was a great success with over 30 groups being represented by facilitators. Just a few weeks later we headed up to Liverpool for our Stakeholder Day - an event where Members, donors, volunteers and fundraisers are invited to come and have their say on our work. We were joined by two exciting speakers and held breakout discussion groups which provided vital feedback and ideas for our upcoming year.
Alongside our events, this year has been a real turning point for mental health awareness. We feel mental health is finally getting the attention it has needed for many years, with huge events like the London Marathon being named the mental health marathon, and more people speaking out about their experiences than ever before. But we still have a really long way to go, especially with awareness of OCD and access to quality treatment. One of the greatest frustrations this year, for us, has been the hundreds of conversations we have had with people who still are not getting quality treatment for OCD, or who are being unfairly treated as a result of their diagnosis. We need to see action rather than just talk of things changing, and that will be a focus for the Charity in 2018. We won't stop campaigning until everyone with OCD gets the treatment and support they deserve.
2018 is shaping up to be a really exciting year! We will start the year with our OCD Week of Action in February (19th-25th) and following that just a few weeks later on 3rd March will be our National Conference. Conference is a huge event which brings together leading OCD experts, inspirational speakers and loads of informative and interactive workshops, where you can meet others affected by OCD. Tickets for our National Conference are now available and can be purchased here.
We will continue to run some of our services over the festive period, as we realise how difficult a time it can be for people affected by this awful condition. You can find a list of our services and Christmas opening hours here.
All that is left to say from the team at OCD Action is thank you to every single one of your for your support. We really could not do any of our work without your help, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with you all in the New Year.
Chair of OCD Action