Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects 1-2% of people in the UK. It is a powerful and destructive mental health condition. Despite its severity, OCD is treatable with the right support and evidence-based treatment. Yet, we face a crisis of neglect—OCD is invisible in our healthcare system.

The Data Gap: Our latest research reveals a critical flaw in the UK’s healthcare system: the NHS is not systematically recording data on OCD. Without data, the NHS is blind to the real scale of OCD, the success of treatments, and who is being left behind. This isn’t just an oversight; it demonstrates a system without the tools to see or consistently support all those living with OCD in the UK.

Our Demand: We’re calling on the government to take decisive action. Our manifesto provides a roadmap for change to bring the current crisis to an end. We need a system that counts every person living with OCD—because every person living with OCD matters.

Join the Movement: Sign our open letter. Tell the next Prime Minister that your vote depends on them taking action to end this crisis now; they must redevelop our system to provide access to the evidence-based treatment for everyone affected by OCD.

Political Leaders: Take Action for OCD
Dear Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, Ed Davey, Carla Denyer, and Adrian Ramsay,
We write to you as the UK’s leading charity for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), representing hundreds of thousands whose struggles remain largely unseen within our healthcare system.
OCD is a serious mental health condition with debilitating effects, driven by distressing intrusive thoughts and exhausting compulsions. Current estimates suggest that a staggering 1-2% of the UK population lives with OCD, or approximately 670,000 to 1.3 million individuals. Yet, this number could still underrepresent the true scale of the condition, as the lack of understanding around OCD causes many to suffer in silence.

While effective treatments for OCD exist, a widespread culture of misunderstanding and trivialisation results in a significant delay of 6-7 years from symptom onset to treatment access. These avoidable delays cause undue suffering and impose an economic toll on society, with an astonishing cost of £5.1 billion annually to the UK.

This gap in understanding is mirrored by a critical flaw within our healthcare system: our recent research has revealed a total absence of systematic data collection on OCD treatment.

Across the UK, none of the main NHS planning organisations tasked with meeting the health needs of the population systematically collect data on OCD. What’s more, community mental health teams—which are pivotal in providing services to people severely affected by OCD—do not consistently collect performance or outcome data on OCD, leaving a significant gap in our understanding of how effectively these services meet the critical needs of those with severe OCD.

This oversight clearly shows that the system is failing to recognise and support those with OCD, making it impossible to measure, let alone meet, the true needs of those affected.

We are at a pivotal moment where your leadership can drive real change. Our manifesto outlines a clear and achievable plan to end the trivialisation of OCD, ensure every person with OCD is recognised and counted, and guarantee timely access to clinically recommended treatments.

Your response—or lack thereof—will be a crucial factor for the signatories of this letter, who are watching closely. They, along with their votes, are calling for action, not promises. Please endorse our manifesto and commit to ending this crisis.

OCD Action and the Undersigned