GENERAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES
Dealing with OCD can be incredibly challenging and isolating. It can be difficult to know who to turn to. Please know this, there are a WORLD of resources out there to support you and a wonderful community waiting to welcome you. Empower yourself by learning everything you can about OCD and where best to get the support and information that will help you with recovery. You are one of millions who've dealt with this, a load of the work has been done already, you just need to know where to find it. I hope this helps to start you off. Loads and loads of love.
The absolute best thing you can do when starting to look for resources and support is to familiarise yourself with the content of these charities/ organisations. Especially the top four. They have an incredible amount of support for families and for people of all ages ages. The charities host support group sessions, have help lines and have incredible teams that can help you with anything. Start there!
OCD Action is the national charity focusing on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
They are a fabulous London-based charity - their support is nation wide. Check out their website to hear about all the wonderful help and support they can give you.
Run by the amazing Ashley Fulwood with help from a brilliant range of volunteers and his side kick Sue Millichap. Based in Derby but again nation-wide. Rather excitingly, OCD-UK has just expanded and appointed Sue as Children and Young Peoples Lead. There is loads of information on this, and a wide range other things, on their website. They are always on the look out for volunteers and Young Ambassadors as well if you fancy getting involved.
The International OCD Foundation
This is a one stop shop for learning about OCD and the information it holds will probably answer many of the questions you have about the disorder. It’s American based so their lists of therapists and courses are somewhat limited for us in the UK but you can’t beat this website for educating you on all things OCD. There’s also a huge section on OCD in children so if you’re a parent or carer this information could prove invaluable.
Created and run by the incredible Stuart Ralph, this podcast is amazing. Every week Stu brings out an interview with someone from the OCD community - therapists, psychologists, advocates, etc. The podcast has been going for years and hosts interviews with people from all over the world - it is an enormous and vital resources for us. He has quite literally created a huge online library, of the highest quality, for us to find out everything we can about OCD and recovery.
This is an amazing charity, run by Diana Wilson and Maria Bavetta. The charity works very closely with OCD Action.
Natasha Daniels - Parenting Anxious Toddlers
Includes loads of resources for young children, teens and parents. It also has a wonderful podcast.
An excellent resource for all those dealing with OCD centering around intrusive thoughts. This non-profit was founded by Rose Cartwright and Aaron Harvey - both of whom grew up with, and still experience, distressing intrusive thoughts. This page talks openly about harm and sexual based intrusive thoughts and has an excellent team writing for them, one of the being the fabulous Dr Steven Phillipson and OCD Advocate Alison Dotson.
OCD Online by Dr Stephen Phillipson
Educational, insightful and compassionate. This is an amazing source of support and information.
A charity that focuses on developing treatments for OCD.
A kind and compassionate view towards recovery. Really incredible books Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and he has a new book out on the 1st December focusing on Harm OCD When a family member has OCD.
Chris Baier's daughter has OCD and after a particularly difficult summer decided, with the rest of his family, to advocate for OCD in children. His first stop, this beautiful and incredibly moving documentary by Chris himself and Kelly Anderson. It follows the journeys of young people with OCD in an interview format from the start of symptoms surfacing all the way through to getting diagnosed, therapy, exposure and a future beyond the reaches of debilitating OCD. It's difficult to put into words just how incredibly brave and eloquent every single one of these young people are - the documentary is as informative and it is inspiring.
They also host facebook live interviews with young people with OCD.
I’ll do a separate post on this soon but, for now, this is the place to go if you aren’t feeling low, depressed, anxious, etc. Most GPS have a standard waiting list in the UK and this can be weeks. Remember you can ask for an emergency appointment, or at least a phone call from your Dr. There’s a likelihood you will probably be asked if you want to go on medication, again this is a personal choice – do your research. REMEMBER to ask about therapy and getting on a waiting list. Even if you decide to take medication, it is important to ask your GP what other treatment is also out there for you. They may not always think to offer it or mention it, so it may be down to you to ask. Some waiting lists can be long so getting on it as soon as possible is a good idea. I wrote about medication here, but please remember I'm not a professional.
IAPT - Improving Access to Psychological Treatment
These tend to be divided into geographical areas and in London it’s split into boroughs so the service you get may differ depending on where you live. This service is a great idea as it cuts out the need to see a General Practitioner and gets you through to a phone assessment for CBT and other talk therapies much quicker. From the assessment, you go into treatment. Again, depending on where you live the waiting list times can vary. This is my local one and an example of what you will see. If you can’t find one for your area contact your GP surgery. They will be able to give you the information. The service may also be called something else in your area, a quick enquiry at your GP surgery will also help you find out what it is.
Accident and Emergency (A&E) or Urgent Care
If you feel you are in immediate need of help, in crisis or distress, or at risk of self harm please visit your nearest A&E department. As I said above, I've done it, loads of us have done it. OCD can be tough and there might be times when we just can't wait to go through the normal steps.
Local crisis support
Many areas have crisis teams and crisis helplines. It's well worth making sure you know what services they provide and how to contact them. They might be able to arrange phone support, home visits, etc.
Some books may be free to read on prescription from the NHS via your GP. You can check here. At the time of writing Break Free from OCD was available on it and it is an excellent book.
Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT
Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Bream Oldfield, Paul M. Salkovskis
Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Rob Wilson and David Veale.
The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Jon Hershfield, MFT and Tom Corboy, MFT, foreword by James Claibor
Overcoming Harm OCD: Mindfulness and CBT Tools for Coping with Unwanted Violent Thoughts
Jon Hershfield, MFT
When a Family Member Has OCD: Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Skills to Help Families Affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Jon Hershfield, MFT
Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts
Martin Seif and Sally M. Winston.
Needing to Know for Sure: A CBT-Based Guide to Overcoming Compulsive Checking and Reassurance Seeking
Martin Seif and Sally M. Winston.
The Man Who Couldn't Stop: OCD and the true story of a life lost in thought
OCD - Tools to Help You Fight Back! : A CBT Workbook for Young People
by Cynthia Turner, Chloë Volz, Georgina Krebs, Lisa Jo Robinson
Breaking Free from OCD: A CBT Guide for Young People and Their Families
by Sarah Robinson and Cynthia Turner Jo Derisley, Isobel Heyman
What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming OCD
Mad Girl: A happy life with a mixed-up mind
Bryony Gordon has OCD and has written about her experiences with it. She also started Mental Health Mates which is incredible too. She’s funny, witty and honest (sometimes painfully so). A must read for those who have experience of living with OCD without ‘coming out’ about it and for women with OCD who have gone through pregnancy and motherhood.
The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal, Effectiveness, Emotional Regulation & Distress Tolerance
Matthew McKay PH.D. Jeffrey C. Wood, PSY.D. Jeffrey Brantely, MD. Not Strictly used for OCD but this has been one of the most helpful books I've ever read.
You can find the majority of social media pages through the websites above. It is so important to make sure we are looking after ourselves online. It is very easy to fall into the trap of reassurance seeking on social media. There are also a number of unqualified coaches doing therapy when they shouldn't. For more information please read this post here.
The awesome Rosey runs PND & me but it covers much more than PND. She hosts an incredible chat on Twitter on Wednesday evening called PND hour where people can discuss parenting with mental health complications. For men and carers too.
Clinical psychologist at CADAT London & SWMH, KCL. Researching and treating anxiety disorders. Specialising in maternal OCD and anxiety. Patron of the Maternal OCD charity.
Therapist based in NY. 'obsessivelyeverafter' on Instagram - informative and fun page about OCD.
Runs OCD Game Changers and OCD Peers. Talks openly and brilliantly about intrusive thoughts. Is a certified peer supporter.
Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT
Runs online exposure and therapy courses through CBT School. Also has an amazingly compassionate Instagram page.
I've used this website to help support the therapy I've had in the past and the homework that I do now. It provides CBT self help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets and self help mp3s
CBT worksheets, handouts and resources.
An amazing charity. They help people who are in distress, despair or feeling suicidal. I used Samaritans after losing my parents, when my OCD was out of control and I was completely overwhelmed. Speaking to someone who listened made a huge difference, released a pressure valve in me and I didn’t have to worry about putting the load onto a family member again. I will forever be grateful to that lady who spoke to me that day.
Mind – The Mental Health Charity
Mind is an amazing charity. They are the people I would turn to in times of crisis or if I needed support and advice immediately on anything mental health related. They give legal mental health based advice and housing advice as well as general support. They are a bottomless pit of contacts and support groups. Mind covers all forms of mental illness and has a large section on OCD. A great charity and a very helpful website!
Headed by the Royals.
In their own words.
"Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental well being and have the practical tools to support their friends and family."
There are many other organisations that I haven't had 1-2-1- experience with but I'll list a few here in case you fancy looking into them.
In their own words
"Our vision is simple: to create a world where mental illness is understood, effectively treated, and ultimately prevented. With the help of our supporters and a global network of leading scientists we can make this a reality. Together we are championing and funding research into mental health that will change millions of lives."
A charity supporting children and young people's mental health.
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is a coalition of UK organisations aimed at supporting new mums - Maternal OCD is a member.
Mental Health support for dads.
There are whole communities of people living with OCD out there on the internet. We're an international, tight knit and supportive community. There will be LOADS of people on social media who are not on these lists on this page. I deliberately only included the people who are in the public eye already and who I know really well. To find others, keep an eye out for those talking about OCD – you’ll soon find lots of other people who have been through the same as you and understand the journey you are on.
PLEASE remember that although it’s fantastic to find people who have been through similar to us, and to feel the massive relief that we are not alone, it is also essential that we focus on recovery. Try not to spend too long caught up in chats about how hard life with OCD can be. Yes, there’s a place for that too, but try to use the groups for hope and recovery ideas and if you’re coming away from them feeling defeated rather than hopeful it may be time to leave that particular group. Also keep an eye out for repeated reassurance seeking - that is a compulsion and can make OCD much worse.
Whilst searching, you're likely to come across the term 'Pure O'. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about whether this term should be used or not, but basically it is used to refer to someone who has internal compulsions. They do not visibly display any outward signs of compulsion but will do so 'internally'. Examples of internal compulsions are things like scanning memories for evidence, seeking reassurance through memories of previous experiences, etc. Whatever your view, it's all OCD and that content will help you too.
Please make sure you look after yourself when you are online. There are a few of people working within the community who take money for doing therapy even if they aren't trained professionals (the term 'therapist' isn't protected in many countries and anyone can use it). Non-professionals SHOULD NOT be doing therapy - it can be dangerous and is highly unethical.
For more information on how to safely use the services of advocates please check out this blog.
And just a quick note to say that in England if you are feeling very poorly you are advised to head to your local A and E department. Or if you have been given a crisis number by your Dr to ring them and they can get help to you. Please do this if you need to, there is no shame in it, I’ve done it. It takes a strong person to realise they need support. You’re far too important not to ask for it.
Lots of love everyone.