Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mental Health & OCD: Watching our Language

Yesterday was world mental health day, and this week is OCD Awareness Week. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is rated by the World Health Organisation as one of the top 10 most debilitating illnesses you can have. It affects around 2% of the population at one time or another.

a few links
on the role of churches in mental health, good piece from the Huffington Post.

A Mind campaign to tackle the stigma of mental health problems has just had extra funding from the government and Comic Relief

The MOD has just launched an initiative aimed at supporting those suffering mental illness as a result of war.

Good primer on OCD here, it's aimed at teenagers but pretty good for adults too.

BBC piece on how we use terms like 'obsessive compulsive' and 'schizophrenic' as adjectives for other things, often reinforcing mistaken views of what the terms mean, and what's involved in having these illnesses. A snippet:

The flippant use of such terms nowadays may offend some and not bother others. But such a dynamic is part of the words' evolution, says Joel Rose, director of OCD Action.

"Five years ago people wouldn't have known what you were talking about if you mentioned OCD," he says. "Now they have a sense of what it is about and use it, but don't really fully understand it. The next five years will be about working to fully educate people.

"What we want people to understand is how serious and debilitating OCD can be. We're talking about people who might clean a floor repeatedly for eight hours or someone who can't leave the house. It's not having a tidy house or arranging the tins of food in your cupboard. We also want to get across that it is treatable."

Indeed, many of those diagnosed with the condition have successfully learned to manage it. Overcoming its metaphorical use, however, may prove more difficult.

1 comment:

  1. I thought that BBC piece was really insightful.

    I'd never consciously noticed the metaphorical use of these terms; but now they mention it....