National OCD Walk Comes to Houston to Raise Awareness & Fight Stigma

HOUSTON, May 24, 2016 — The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) and OCD Texas are pleased to announce the 1st Annual 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk in Houston on June 4, 2016, at Memorial Park’s South Picnic Loop. The walk aims to raise awareness about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental health disorder that affects over 2 million adults and a half million children in the U.S. alone.

Austin Vela, a former contestant on NBC’s “The Voice,” will be leading the festivities as the Grand Marshal. Vela, a musician from the Houston area, has been an outspoken advocate for OCD and related disorders and shares a personal connection with the mission of the walk.

“When I was in middle school, OCD consumed my life,” says Vela. “I was placed in special education and was told that I would probably be on disability for the rest of my life. It’s life changing for me to have such an opportunity to touch so many lives by simply telling them my story. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. It’s time to take a stand. It’s time to raise awareness about mental health.”

Houston now joins three other cities hosting the IOCDF’s 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk on June 4th — Boston, where the walk first began in 2013; Atlanta, GA; and Oakland, CA. The walks are all part of a national effort to raise awareness about OCD and break the stigma surrounding mental illness, and raise funds to support the important work of the IOCDF.

“OCD affects 1 in 100 adults, but it is still little understood in the general public,” explains Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the IOCDF. “This walk is about building a community of support — and making sure people know how to access the resources and support they need.”

The Walk is open to people of all ages in the Houston area — visit to learn more.


About the International OCD Foundation & OCD Texas

The International OCD Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary as 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 22 states and territories, as well as 11 global partners. The IOCDF has a $2 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

OCD Texas is the local affiliate of the International OCD Foundation, working towards the same mission of supporting those affected by OCD throughout the state of Texas. To learn more, visit


Carly Bourne
Director of Communications & Marketing, International OCD Foundation
Phone: 617-973-5801