What are October OCD Awareness events all about?

OCD Awareness Week was launched by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) to serve as an annual  occasion when “community groups, service organizations, and clinics across the US and around the world celebrate throughout the week with events such as educational lecture series, OCD-inspired art exhibits, grassroots fundraisers, and more.” In addition to events hosted by the IOCDF (www.iocdf.org), affiliate organizations around the world offer a range of programs and activities in their local communities. The San Francisco Bay Area’s affiliate, OCD SF Bay Area (www.ocdbayarea.org), has grown during the last several years and now sponsors numerous events around the SF Bay Area. Although OCD Awareness Week is the second week of October, the Bay Area now offers too many events to be limited to one week. As one of the members of the Board of Directors of OCD SF Bay Area, I enjoy how we now now affectionately refer to October as OCD Awareness Month in the Bay Area!

SFBACCT’s participation in OCD Awareness events

The SFBACCT has been proud to play a significant role in hosting and participating in OCD Awareness Week events for the past four years. Sponsored by the OCD SF Bay Area affiliate, this year we teamed up with Rogers Behavioral Health and TMS Health Solutions to host two panel discussions and Q & A’s on various aspects of OCD. One panel focused on treatment for adults; the other focused on treatment for children and adolescents. It was such a pleasure to work closely with some of our Bay Area colleagues. Joan Davidson served on the adult panel along with Jennifer Park from Rogers Behavioral Health, Ryan Vidrine from TMS Health Solutions, and Heidi Hartston, an individual practitioner. Daniela Owen and Jonathan Barkin served on the child and adolescent panel with Margo Thienemann from Stanford Children’s Health. Both panels included presentations and discussions by two young adults who have experienced treatment first-hand.

Our OCD Awareness event took place on Sunday, October 6th, 2019, at the UC Berkeley Alumni House on the UC Berkeley campus. This is the second OCD Awareness event that we’ve hosted at this venue, and we enjoy the convenient location, comfortable presentation space, and friendly staff who help with all aspects of preparation. We were pleased to have had about 60 attendees. We covered numerous topics and enjoyed lively discussions. Adult panel topics included an overview of OCD and ERP, appropriate levels of care, roles of loved ones during treatment, psychopharmacology, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a treatment option. Child and adolescent presenters discussed differences between adult and child presentations of OCD, youth expressions of anger in OCD, family accommodation, the arc of treatment and building acceptance and compassion when helping children and teens, research updates on PANS and autoimmune connections with childhood OCD, and current research on medications to treat OCD.

Looking toward the future

Our Center is excited to continue hosting October OCD Awareness events in the coming years, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with colleagues from around the Bay Area. These events are for general audiences, people with OCD, family members, and therapists. We hope to see you next year!

If you’re interested in joining the SF Bay Area Affiliate of the IOCDF and receiving electronic newsletters with updates about all local OCD Awareness events as well as information about events, resources, and support groups throughout the year, please go to www.ocdbayarea.org. We’ll keep you updated about our participation in events in our newsletter, which you can join at www.sfbacct.com.