SACRAMENTO, Calif. (April 28, 2014) — The International OCD Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with OCD and related disorders live full productive lives, announced today their first-ever OCD awareness walk in California: the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD 4K Walk. For the millions of people in the U.S., living with obsessive compulsive disorder, “being OCD” isn’t a joke, it’s reality. 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk, co-hosted by the International OCD Foundation and OCD Sacramento, is an event created to increase awareness, resources, and support for individuals and families affected by OCD. Jeff Bell, co-anchor for KCBS Radio in San Francisco, will be the Grand Marshal for the walk, which will take place in Sacramento on May 10, 2014.
The walk provides an opportunity for the vibrant OCD community of advocates, mental health professionals, families, friends, and others affected by OCD and related disorders to raise awareness about OCD, while also raising money to support the work of the Foundation and OCD Sacramento. To most people, OCD can look like nothing more than a personality quirk: liking things just a certain way, washing one’s hands a few too many times, being extremely detail-oriented, etc. But in reality, OCD is a serious anxiety disorder that can disrupt lives without the proper treatment.
“OCD, like so many mental health disorders, can be extremely isolating,” says Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the International OCD Foundation. “This walk provides an opportunity for individuals and families to come together with a community of advocates and other individuals who understand the challenges of living with OCD, while also raising money for OCD research and programs for the entire OCD community.”
Grand Marshal Jeff Bell has worked to shed light on the gravity of OCD by opening up about his own struggle with the disorder. Bell’s OCD began when he was a young kid, but didn’t become a real problem until his late twenties, when Bell was consumed by unquenchable doubt. No matter how many times he checked the lock, the stove, the car door, no matter how illogical he knew he was being, his OCD insisted he check again. His OCD insisted that somewhere during his morning routine, his drive to work, something had gone wrong, and shouldn’t he check again just to be absolutely sure? Bell’s anxiety consumed him, as his wife and kids watched helplessly.
Eventually, Bell was lucky enough to find help. And he has since become an outspoken mental health advocate working to raise awareness about OCD and stigma, speaking across the country to mental health professionals, doctors, and others about his experiences with OCD, and even writing two books on the subject. “I have always admired Jeff Bell,” says Robin Zasio, PhD, president of OCD Sacramento, director of the Anxiety Treatment Center of Sacramento, and therapist on the popular reality television series, Hoarders. “Through sharing his story, Jeff has helped countless others in their struggle to overcome OCD and related disorders. We are so thrilled that Jeff is the Grand Marshal for the first 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk in Sacramento.”
About the Walk
Started in Boston last year, the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk brings together OCD advocates, mental health professionals, families, friends, and the many other people affected by OCD to raise money for the Foundation, while also creating a vibrant, strong community. The first-ever 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk on the West Coast will take place at Southside Park in Downtown Sacramento on the morning of May 10, 2014, and everyone is welcome to attend. Co-hosted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) and OCD Sacramento, the local IOCDF affiliate, the walk will raise money to support the mission of the IOCDF to help all individuals with OCD to live full and productive lives. To learn more about the walk, click here.
About the International OCD Foundation and OCD Sacramento
The International OCD Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization. Founded in 1986 by a small group of individuals with OCD, the Foundation has grown into an international membership-based organization serving a broad community of individuals with OCD and related disorders, their family members and loved ones, and mental health professionals and researchers. The Foundation aims to improve outcomes for individuals with OCD and related disorders by increasing access to effective treatment, ending the stigma associated with mental health issues, and fostering a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them. OCD Sacramento is a non-profit affiliate of the IOCDF, carrying out the Foundation’s mission in the Greater Sacramento Region. To learn more, please visit www.iocdf.org and www.ocdsacramento.org.
International OCD Foundation, Director of Communications