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International OCD Foundation will hold first-ever OCD Capital Walk in D.C.

The walk is open to all members of the OCD and related disorders community

International OCD Foundation will hold first-ever OCD Capital Walk in D.C.

A view of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week takes place every year during the second week of October. The Awareness Week usually includes various small events throughout local communities, but this year the International OCD Foundation is partnering with OCD Mid-Atlantic to holding their first-ever OCD Capital Walk in Washington D.C. on Saturday, Oct. 14.

The foundation's website said the goal of the walk will be to increase the public's awareness about OCD and its impact on all those affected, provide information on available resources for OCD and related disorders and help individuals learn to advocate — not only for the OCD community in their local and larger governments, but also for themselves, as they seek out treatment and additional support in their communities.

According to the foundation, one out of 100 adults are estimated to have OCD and there are as many children in the US with OCD as there are children with diabetes. The foundation said obstacles to getting effective treatment for OCD include hiding symptoms due to embarrassment and stigma, lack of proper training in health professionals and difficulty finding local therapists who can effectively treat OCD.

Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the foundation, said the primary purpose of the walk is to raise awareness for the disorder.

“As a non-profit, this is simply an awareness event and there will be no political messaging or activity. It is our hope that this can become an annual event that will help to raise awareness and end stigma for mental health as a whole,” Szymanski said.

Meghan Buco, the communications manager for the foundation, said the walk will focus on educating the public about what these disorders really are, what is often portrayed in the media and how they impact the lives of those affected. Buco also said the walk will also serve to teach community members to advocate for this community, and themselves, in order to find support and resources.

“We find this especially important as many people don't have access to resources and new legislation could prevent even more people from accessing proper treatment,” Buco said.

Beyond gathering in advocacy for the OCD and related disorders community, the OCD Capital Walk is a fundraising opportunity for the programs of both the International OCD Foundation and OCD Mid-Atlantic. Upon registering, each walker will automatically have created for them a personal fundraising page. All proceeds will go towards the supporting programs of both the foundation and its local affiliate, OCD Mid-Atlantic.

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