OCD charity denounces major retailers trivialising OCD this Christmas
For the million people afflicted by OCD in the UK, the reality of living with the disease is not a joke, according to the charity Orchard OCD. Mental health advocates *Made of Millions suggest that patients with OCD are 10 times more likely to commit suicide, a terrifying statistic.
Additionally, 5-25% of people with OCD have admitted to attempting suicide at some point in their lives. Yet major retailers - including Amazon, Esty, Shirtbox Wish, 123T, and Redbubble - continue to sell products which trivialise OCD, which is a metaphorical kick in the teeth for those suffering from this awful disease. A Redbubble T-shirt says: ‘OCD has no off switch. If it did I would be checking it constantly.’
These items are promoted as a ‘funny obsessive-compulsive disorder design’ and a ‘great gift for the perfectionist!’ This is unacceptable, according to model Shaun Flores, Volunteer Advocate for Orchard OCD. Pioneering a new campaign by Orchard OCD, #OCDisnojoke, Shaun intends to change the current narrative on OCD, claiming he wants to work as an ‘OCD game changer.’
Shaun said: “I have found that not many people speak out about OCD. As a young black man with OCD, I have been shocked at the reception since sharing my articles.” Shaun and Orchard OCD are pushing for a necessary ‘clean-up act’ to help those with severe OCD receive appropriate treatment, support, and recognition. In addition to an overwhelmed NHS, there is a severe lack of funding, research, and understanding of the disorder.
As a result, many who suffer from OCD have to go that extra mile to seek help from charities, pay for costly private practice, or live without a diagnosis or support. Shaun said: “OCD is stigmatised and trivialised by society. Most people wrongly believe it is about lining up your pencils and keeping your home tidy. What they do not realise is the crippling anxiety, grotesque intrusive thoughts, and devastating daily struggles a person with OCD must bear.”
Orchard OCD founder and chair Nick Sireau said: “Bizarrely, it seems perfectly acceptable for major retailers to make fun of OCD. An example on Amazon are products with statements such as: ‘I have OCD, obsessive Christmas disorder.’” While these may be seen as harmless statements made in jest, ultimately it only confirms the trivialisation of OCD by society. Nick believes this is the root cause of why so little is done to help OCD patients.
He said: ‘I created Orchard OCD to develop new and better treatments for OCD. Alongside this, our aim is to raise awareness about OCD and tackle its trivialisation.’ If you would like to donate to Orchard OCD’s Christmas appeal to help raise awarreness about OCD, please go to: Just Giving Orchard Christmas Appeal