International OCD Foundation Honors Comedian Maria Bamford with First Annual Illumination Award

MariaBamford-AwardRespected Comic Awarded for Bringing Awareness and Challenging Stereotypes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

BOSTON, June 24, 2014 — The International OCD Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders, has named comedian Maria Bamford the inaugural recipient of the 2014 Illumination Award. The award recognizes media personalities and influencers who have accurately and respectfully represented OCD and related disorders. Bamford will accept the award in person at the Foundation’s 21st Annual OCD Conference in Los Angeles on July 19.

“Maria is an exceptional performer who has courageously used her comedy to talk openly and frankly about mental health, a subject that is too often considered taboo,” said Dr. Jeff Szymanski, International OCD Foundation Executive Director. “Through her work, Maria has enlightened the public on the challenges of living with OCD, while also being extremely funny and entertaining, and we could not be more proud to honor her with our inaugural Illumination Award.”

“As someone who has experienced mental illness, I have been so grateful to organizations like the International OCD Foundation — as well as individuals — who provide information, new treatments and support,” said Maria Bamford. “My life has been transformed from a very limiting and frightening experience to a world beyond my expectations with the help and welcome from people in the mental health community.   I commend the International OCD Foundation’s efforts to contest the misconceptions of mental health disorders.  I am truly honored to receive the Illumination Award and am grateful — that as a result of the work, acceptance, and compassion of so many — I’ve been empowered to live a life I didn’t think was possible.”

About the Illumination Award
In popular culture, the term OCD has become a casual term for “perfectionist” or “neat,” something very different from the stark reality of the mental health disorder that affects the lives of millions of adults, children, and teens in the U.S. alone. In an effort to counter these powerful misconceptions about OCD, the International OCD Foundation introduced the Illumination Award in 2014, to honor those in the media who portray OCD and related disorders in a respectful, accurate, and enlightening way, and who challenge stereotypes while fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness.

About the International OCD Foundation
The International OCD Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization, working to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them.
Based in Boston, the IOCDF has affiliates in 25 states and territories, as well as 9 Global Partners. The IOCDF was founded as the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation in 1986. Now in its 27th year, the organization has an over $1.5 million annual operating budget, has granted millions of dollars for OCD research, and is a vital resource for the estimated 1 in 100 individuals with OCD around the world. For more information, visit



Carly Bourne
International OCD Foundation, Director of Communications