To the OCD community, and especially the Black OCD community:
We at the International OCD Foundation have been thinking hard about how best to contribute to the conversation around racial injustice and the violence taking place in the US following the killing of George Floyd. To those who are asking us to respond to the current crisis and to be more transparent about what we are actually doing to combat racism in obvious and subtle ways, we see you. We hear you. And we agree.
We want you to know that we see, and have seen, the injustice and violence faced by Black people in America, and globally. We adamantly condemn police brutality against the Black community and racism in all its forms.
We see that the Black community faces many barriers when it comes to their mental health. Even today, a huge disparity exists in the Black community’s access to mental health services despite the availability of quality treatment. Racism, oppression, and misuse of authority in healthcare settings fuels distrust in mental health providers and treatment, and causes Black people to avoid seeking treatment and rely on other sources.
We see that the Black community is underrepresented in our organization, at our Conference, at our trainings, and in our other initiatives. We continue to work hard to change this.
We need to do better to ensure that in the future, our community is more inclusive. We know that actions speak louder than words, and that our goals need to be met consistently with clear, visible results.
In 2018, the IOCDF’s Diversity Advisory Council created a strategic plan outlining how we will create a more inclusive OCD community. Specifically, we have committed to the following:
- Creating a leadership composition that reflects our diverse OCD community at the Board of Directors, Scientific & Clinical Advisory Board, and Staff level.
- Increasing the number of clinicians of color that are trained in treating OCD following best practices.
- Establishing trust and strong rapport with local academic and community minority leaders in order to increase diversity among OCD treatment-seeking patients, research participants, and treatment providers.
- Increasing diverse attendance at and participation in IOCDF events (Annual OCD Conference, 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walks, OCD Awareness Week, professional trainings, etc.).
- Increasing content for and about diverse populations within the OCD and related disorders community.
- Increasing the resources needed to fund research regarding statistics about the prevalence of OCD in diverse minority groups.
Some of these goals have been met or partially met, and we will outline some of these successes in a blog post later this month. But we have a long way to go, and so we will keep working and will not grow complacent.
With that in mind, we look forward to having more open and honest conversations with you all, the OCD and related disorders community. While we have canceled our online events this week out of respect for the community and this time of national grief, you can contact us on social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your patience as we work through these issues and mindfully move forward together as a more inclusive community.
Stay safe, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.