• Catherine Benfield

Campaigns: How you can help!


Hey everyone!

It's been a while since I've had a chance to update my blog but hopefully, if you follow me on social media, you'll have seen all the brilliant things that have been happening in our awesome community.

I had a wonderful summer holiday which gave me lots of time to recharge and it's a good thing I did because the for the past few weeks I've been back into advocacy on an almost full-time basis. It's a really exciting time for OCD awareness!

I've been thinking about a few things that might help even more with awareness and I'd really like to share them with you. I want to say before I even start, that there's absolutely no pressure to get involved in any of this - self care come first!

But if you are interested, here we go....

Campaign One - Getting OCD information into pregnancy related materials.

The lack of information about OCD in pregnancy related material has gnawed at me for a while so this summer I started to put a little ground work into researching this. I went through a load of pregnancy related books and found:

- One reference to OCD, two references to anxiety and psychosis, and one reference to birth trauma

- The majority of pregnancy books contained information about Post Natal Depression but there was a huge range in the quantity and quality of information.

- Only one or two contained any form of mental health support contacts in the contacts sections or in the further reading suggestions at the back.

My own pregnancy book, which I read cover to cover on numerous occasions, contained less than half a page on mental health, and what was there focussed on PND.

If you'd like to know more about these findings, I posted a video on IGTV and Facebook containing detailed information.

I first mentioned this campaign less than a week ago and already so many people have shared their own pregnancy material and offered to help. If that was you, thankyou so much! We've got the complete backing of OCD Action and Maternal OCD too which is amazing!

I've been thinking about maybe expanding it and including the other mental health conditions experienced around pregnancy, birth and parenthood. I mean, maybe we could even extend to include lots of other charities and advocates and really get a push on this.

I need to have a good think about it and get some more advice... do a bit more research - so please bare with me - if were going to do it, lets do it right. It's all very exciting!

In the meantime if you have any ideas to share please let me know.

Onto number two....

Campaign 2 - Crowding the Hashtags

I first spoke about this idea a couple of years ago on social media so you might have heard about it already - and I know some of you do it already - but I just wanted to bring it up again.

Very early on in my recovery I had to stop reading under the #ocd hashtag on social media because instead of finding support and peers, I found misconception which, especially back then, was very upsetting. Nowadays, #ocd tends to be full of great information about OCD. It's finally becoming the place it should be for those looking for support and that is something to be celebrated!

Rather annoyingly, dodgy hashtags - places that house incorrect information about OCD - still exist and I've had an idea about how we could deal with them. (I've added some examples of these to the very bottom of this page)*

If we added those hashtags to our own posts about OCD, ever so slowly those hashtags would become filled with correct information. There are additional benefits to this in that it doesn't require you to actually look under the hashtags that house potentially upsetting information, and it really takes very little extra work. I've got a list of these types of hashtags on my phone and I just copy and paste them into certain posts. I don't change anything I'm doing, I don't aim the post at the hashtag, I just do what I was doing anyway and then add them at the end. It is very easy! And with Christmas coming up - we can finally crowd out the Obsessive Christmas Disorder hashtag with correct information.

Before doing this please also consider that by using different hashtags your posts will be seen by people further removed from the OCD and mental health communities. Please don't leave yourself vulnerable. When I post about particularly sensitive things I only use very specific hashtags or none at all so please think about your own well being when selecting your hashtags, and of course what you're posting in the first place. 😊

We come first - always!

Right that's it for now I think - on this particular subject anyway! Please let me know if you have any ideas on anything I've mentioned above - I think this needs to be a team effort and we've got an awesome one of those!

I'm going to try to get another post up soon so please keep an eye out.

Lots of love everyone

Catherine xx

The Bee art work is the wonderful work of The Dirty Pen who I first met in Folkestone a couple of years ago. He is completely amazing! And the brilliant superhereos are by Clementine Campardou.

* #ocdbeforeandafter #ocdmemes #ocdclean #obsessivechristmasdisorder #ocdbefore #ocdproblems #ocdlife #ocdtees #ocdfail #ocdissues

#advocacy #change #maternalocd #ocdaction #pregnancy #birth #hashtags

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