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Today is World Mental Health Day, and it’s also the beginning of OCD Awareness Week. All week long we’ll have events going on around the country dedicated to raising awareness and understanding about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders.

While knowledge about OCD in the general public has grown exponentially in the last decade, there remains a disconnect between how the term OCD is used in general conversation (think: OMG, I’m so OCD because I color-coded my sock drawer)  and what the reality of OCD is for those who actually have the disorder.

#OCDweek is all about closing that knowledge gap, and helping people to understand what obsessive compulsive disorder really is. This is important for two reasons: 1) so people can have more compassion and understanding for those with the disorder, and 2) so that people may have an easier time getting access to effective care: If you don’t understand that the intrusive thoughts in your head may be a symptom of OCD, how do you ask for help?

So, what can you do to help spread this message of awareness and understanding? Get involved! The International OCD Foundation and our Affiliates have events planned around the country all week, and many are free (or low-cost). If you can’t attend the events, there are ways to get involved online as well.

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IOCDF spokespeople with Dr. Jon Grayson at their #OCDweek #Roadtriptoreocvery event in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 9. 2016.

2016 Road Trip to Recovery Tour

The IOCDF spokespeople — Ethan S. Smith, Elizabeth McIngvale, PhD, and Jeff Bell — are travelling across the country through #OCDweek and will be broadcasting live from each stop on their 2016 #OCDweek Road Trip to Recovery tour. Find out if they are stopping near you, or tune into Facebook for live-streaming video from each stop on the tour. You can follow their adventures on Snapchat and Instagram as well, by following @IOCDF. Click here to learn more.

Spread the Word on Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media networks are a great way to spread awareness about OCD and related disorders. By telling your story to your friends and family, you can help dispel myths about mental health disorders, eliminate stigma, and most importantly, raise awareness about OCD symptoms and available treatments. During OCD Awareness Week, there are a number of ways you can get involved online:

  • Follow @IOCDF on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram for live updates all week long, including live-streamed video from #OCDweek events.
  • Join the THUNDERCLAP! We are using Thunderclap to flood Facebook and Twitter with our message of OCD Awareness to kick off #OCDweek. Sign up before Noon today help us share this message with hundreds of other people the same time. Click here to join the Thunderclap: http://thndr.me/MN74yh. What is a Thunderclap you ask? It’s a website that allows people to pledge to Tweet or Facebook a message all at the same time in order to achieve the maximum effect. Think of it as an online flash mob. Let’s get #OCDweek trending!!!!
  • Use the #OCDweek hashtag all week on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help get OCD Awareness Week trending!
  • twibbonChange your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to show your support for OCD Awareness by using our exclusive #OCDweek “Twibbon” by clicking here: http://twibbon.com/support/ocd-awareness-ocdweek.
  • Join the TAA #OCDweek Twitter chat on Thursday, Oct 13th at 2pm EST to discuss Tourette’s, OCD, and bullying.
  • Donate your Facebook status October 9-15th, 2016. Feel free to copy and paste the following if you’re not sure what to say:

For OCD Awareness Week, I donate my status in support of anyone who has ever battled this disorder. May they find treatment, comfort, and hope. Together we can end the stigma around mental illness. Please copy and paste this as your status to promote the International OCD Foundation’s #OCDweek efforts. Learn more at www.iocdf.org/ocdweek

To learn more, find events in your area, and find other ways to get involved, visit the OCD Awareness Week webpage here.

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