OCD Action Conference Write Up!

Everything that happened at the OCD Action Conference...

On Saturday, March 3rd, OCD Action held their National Conference in London at the Bloomsbury Holiday Inn. There was a buzz in the venue from the moment that people began to arrive, register and enjoy the complimentary (and incredibly popular) butterscotch and chocolate cookies and tea and coffee.

With some mingling and small talk done, it was time for the conference to begin and the Chair of OCD Action, Piers Watson, welcomed everyone on behalf of the Charity. He then introduced Rose Bretécher, a writer, author (of Pure) and campaigner who went on to speak about her battle with intrusive thoughts throughout her teenage years and twenties.

The first of the day’s three sessions then commenced, with a variety of activities, talks and workshops available to the attendees. These included intrusive thoughts and images, perinatal OCD, setting up a support group and exploring the realities of living with OCD through the creative arts which was run by The Secret Illness organisation (who had a workshop in each of the three sessions).

Upon return to the main conference room, Dr Lynne Drummond talked about new and existing research and scientific developments within the field of OCD and related anxiety disorders. This was followed by lunch, however there was still more to do during lunch as there were optional talks about how to get your story out there and a session about dramatherapy.

After lunch, there was the first of the day’s two inspirational talks. Richard Taylor, Chair of the Youth Advisory Panel, spoke about his life-long struggle with OCD, the depths of despair it took him to and how he managed to build his life back up from the ground to save himself and his father. From being a guest at the conference three years prior to being on stage giving a talk, Richard spoke of his great pride and admiration for OCD Actionand all of the people that helped him along the way.

Then, the real highlight of the day started. We were fortunate enough to have one of the children, Vanessa, from UNSTUCK: An OCD Kids Movie at the conference. She’d travelled across the Atlantic from New York along with her sister, Charlotte (who is also featured in the film) and their parents, Chris and Ali who helped produce the film.

After screening the incredible documentary (which you can find more information about here) that went on to receive a standing ovation, both kids took part in a Q&A answering questions both about their personal experiences with OCD and more generalised inquiries, especially the difference between OCD treatment and attitude differences between the UK and USA.

The afternoon’s workshops were then held (with a teabreak in between) and they included things like advocacy (as well as an advocacy Q&A), parenting someone with OCD, mindfulness, sleeping, eating and being active for mental health, two more sessions with The Secret Illness, OCD and Autism, living with and challenging Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania, a Q&A for effective treatment of OCD and last but by no means least, the OCD Youth workshop! This was a great opportunity for younger people to engage with the Youth Advisory Panel as well as some authors (Lily Bailey and Fiona Neill) about their experiences/relationship with OCD (and play a great game of information bingo!).

The day ended with an inspirational talk by David and Laurenne Goldstone who spoke on behalf of theirdaughter, Sophie, who was unable to attend the conference because of her OCD. However, we were overjoyed when she appeared on a pre-recorded video that was filled with hope and positivity.

The conference was so fantastic to be a part of and it just further cemented the need for the conversation to keep going about OCD as well as awareness, action, research and inspiration!


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