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What is advocacy? It is defined as ‘public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy.’ Many individuals in the OCD community believe that to be an advocate, they have to publicly share their story about OCD in a large forum, including opening up about personal details.

However, OCD Awareness Week is designed to allow EVERYONE to become an advocate. The goal of OCD Awareness Week is to get the word out about what OCD really is. Not the ‘I like to organize my sock drawer by color’ OCD that makes it seem like a funny and quirky habit that the public may know. But instead, educating them on the REAL OCD: ‘constant and torturous taboo and intrusive thoughts that force individuals to engage in time-consuming and laborious physical and mental compulsions.’

So how do we get the general public to properly understand OCD? More than that, how do we ensure that doctors and other medical and mental health staff properly diagnose OCD? Or that insurance companies compensate for OCD treatment, laws protect those with mental disorders, and money is raised for OCD research? That answer is to get out the message of what OCD truly is and why it deserves more attention.

That is where you come in.

Although OCD Awareness Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of obsessive compulsive disorder, has concluded, we must continue to educate the public on this debilitating disorder. The public includes your family, friends, and even acquaintances!

It is okay if you are not comfortable with publicly sharing your story on a national level — you can still advocate in the spirit of OCD Awareness Week by sharing with a parent, friend, sibling, classmate, co-worker, or your romantic partner about OCD. Tell them what OCD really is and how much it affects a person with the disorder.

Make sure that you feel comfortable or safe sharing with this person. You can share as little or as much as you want about your story. Remember, you are not required to open up and share more than you are ready to. This will educate more and more people about OCD, and this helps spread awareness. If you are not comfortable sharing your personal story, you can educate them on what OCD is using general facts and statements without opening up that you have it.

As this year’s OCD Awareness Week concludes, the spirit of advocacy and awareness continues, and we hope that you will keep that alive! We look forward to (hopefully) having our OCD Awareness Week 2021 events in-person and until then, we are here to support you and those in your life affected by the disorder. Email us with any questions: info@iocdf.org.

Take care!

Chris Trondsen, M.S., AMFT, APCC
Vice president, OCD Southern California and Lead Advocate, IOCDF

Ethan Smith
National Advocate, IOCDF

Elizabeth McIngvale, PhD, LCSW
Board member and National Advocate, IOCDF


  • Thank you for all your amazing work, not only through OCD awareness week but all day every day! You’ve been such a great source of education for me through some hard times. I agree that advocacy starts with the facts, knowing and sharing them.

  • Betsy Kalny Ritchie

    Thank you to Everyone who had a part in making the OCD Awareness Week so valuable and exciting!!!

  • Lisa Street

    Can you please put me in contact with someone who specializes in OCD/anxiety near me? Zip is 24609

    • Jessica Price

      Hi Lisa! Thank you for your comment. Head to iocdf.org/find-help and type in your zip code to find help in your area. OR send us an email at info@iocdf.org and our resource specialist will help you find support.

  • Alena Pershay

    Thank you very much for being for us and for the educating us!
    OCD is now more understandable disorder, but still it is very difficult to diagnose in some cases and to treat.
    I believe that as we are the parents of OCD child who already 27 years old, we have to learn a lot about our support and contribution into the recovery of our child as well as to get stick with scientists and other families to share all we know and learn from them as well.

    May be we can do family sessions for support twice a month?


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