By Ethan S. Smith, IOCDF National Ambassador
The 25th Annual OCD Conference in Washington D.C. was an amazing event with a record-breaking 1,977 attendees from 19 countries!
This Conference, more so than others, proved especially emotional for me in the best way possible. Beyond being deeply touched by so many of you, by your bravery and personal stories, I noticed a buzz in the air. An energy of passion, desire, and courage that emanated from all of you. This year we not only shared the common bond of our mental illness, but we overwhelmingly shared the desire to give back.
I couldn’t possibly count the number of people who approached me asking how they could get involved in helping advocate and raise awareness about OCD and related disorders. It further solidified in my mind the need to create as many opportunities as possible so that everyone, no matter where you are in your journey, can touch a life for the better. It’s your involvement, stories, creativity, and intelligence, that will create the change that we so deeply need and deserve. Change that will allow everyone to access affordable and effective treatment without experiencing shame or guilt.
In an effort to drive this change, I am so proud to announce that the IOCDF Ambassador program has officially launched! To begin this program, I will head up five sub-groups of individuals in my capacity as National Ambassador. These groups will focus on Outreach, Creative Expression, Social Media, Parents and Kids, and International Awareness. Our Ambassadors are passionate individuals who we have identified as going above and beyond in their efforts to advocate and create awareness for OCD and related disorders.
I was lucky to meet with many of our Ambassadors at the Conference, and we have already begun working hard to build out as many opportunities as possible to give back, educate, reduce stigma, and affect change in our country and around the world.
I am extremely excited to introduce your inaugural IOCDF ambassadors.
|National Ambassador||Creative Expression Ambassadors||Social Media Ambassadors|
|Ethan S. Smith||Ethan S. Smith, Lead Ambassador||Meghan Buco, Lead Ambassador|
|Sean Sinnock||Chris Trondsen|
|Adira Weixlmann||Nathalie Maragoni|
|Hannah Zidanesk||Epifania Gallina|
|Outreach Ambassador||Parents/Kids Ambassadors||International Ambassadors|
|Jeff Szymanski, Lead Ambassador||Denis Egan Stack, Lead Ambassador||Jen Coward, Lead Ambassador|
|Morgan Rondinelli||Ryan Bernstein||Shai Friedland|
|Clint & Joanie Malarchuck||Chris Baier||Wentao Prokok|
|Valerie Andrews||Charlotte and Vanessa Baier||Minal Mahtani|
|Aaron Harvey||Meg Dailey||Hiroko Kawamura|
|Solome Tibebu||Jo-Ann Winston|
|Jesse Paris Smith||Alex and Larry Rosenberg|
Our Work as Ambassadors
This will be a marathon, not a sprint, but I truly believe that this movement has the potential to be a true game-changer for mental health (and especially OCD and related disorders.)
To begin with, our Ambassadors are going to work together to come up with new ways to engage the community and the public around OCD Awareness Week, this October 7-13, 2018.
Our goal is to provide an opportunity for everyone, regardless of where you are in your journey, to get involved in helping raise awareness and end the stigma around OCD.
How You Can Get Involved
If you want to learn more about how to get involved with the Ambassador program, we invite you to sign up for the IOCDF New and Updates emails. Through these emails, you will learn about what we are planning for OCD Awareness Week and receive regular updates about new IOCDF initiatives and programming.
If you’re ready to take action, you can sign up to be an OCDvocate! As an OCDvocate, you’ll work with our Ambassadors to participate in challenges and awareness efforts via email and social media. The Ambassadors will also serve as a point of contact for you to share your own ideas.
We chose our Ambassadors by selecting members of the OCDvocate community who have been especially active in advocating and spreading awareness. If you have been an OCDvocate and feel that you should be considered for the Ambassador program, please feel free to email the IOCDF.
In addition, if you have new ideas for how we can further engage the community, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the IOCDF Communications Manager, Meghan Buco, at email@example.com. It is our goal to advocate on behalf of the entire community, and the more people we have involved, the stronger our voice will be.