OAKLAND, Calif., May 24, 2016 — He’s run more than 30 marathons and half-marathons, competed in track competitions at the college level, and is currently finishing a master’s program in social work. But despite his long list of accomplishments, mental health advocate Eric McClendon knows firsthand that defeating the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding mental health issues, the next challenge he has chosen to tackle, is something that requires a full team of supporters.
McClendon will lead exactly such a team as Grand Marshal for the 3rd Annual 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk, co-hosted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), OCD Sacramento, and OCD Bay Area on June 4, 2016, at the Lake Merritt Amphitheatre in downtown Oakland. 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.
“You know, some say that being afflicted with mental illness is a negative impact and detriment in today’s society,” says McClendon, who has been diagnosed with OCD, anxiety and depression. “On the other hand, I believe that these three mental illness diagnoses are a gift that I will instead use to my advantage to pursue many dreams and goals, despite the negative influences caused from today’s stigma.”
Oakland 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 Houston, TX. 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 Northern California area — visit www.iocdf.org/walk to learn more.
About the International OCD Foundation, OCD Sacramento, & OCD SF Bay Area
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 www.iocdf.org.
OCD Sacramento and OCD SF Bay Area are local affiliate of the International OCD Foundation, working toward the same mission of supporting those affected by OCD throughout Northern California. To learn more, visit www.ocdsacramento.org or www.ocdbayarea.org
Director of Communications & Marketing, International OCD Foundation