Compelled to help others

Associate Professor Clare Rees and Rebecca Anderson are developing an online treatment program for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Associate Professor Clare Rees and Rebecca Anderson are developing an online treatment program for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Curtin University researchers are developing the OCD? Not Me! program, which is a Teleweb project, with the assistance of a $464,000 grant from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

The program has been funded for two-and-a-half years and the online service is aimed at young people aged between 12 and 18.

Associate Professor Clare Rees, principal investigator on the project alongside co-investigator Rebecca Anderson, said people with OCD became preoccupied with negative thoughts and behaviours that could control their lives.

‘They may have rituals or strong compulsions to do certain things repeatedly, in order to banish daunting thoughts,’ she said.

‘This can include repeated hand washing, checking of doors, switches and appliances, to having to complete mental checklists or keep objects in straight lines. When OCD is severe, the obsessions can be extremely distressing for a young person and impacts their academic, social and family life.’

Ms Collins said approximately three in every 100 people ” or more than 450,000 Australians ” would develop OCD at some time in their lives. The program will provide techniques and tips for families to help them assist young people to overcome the disorder.

Ms Rees said online treatments were a cost-effective, flexible, accessible way for clients to receive treatment.

‘The service will include a national referral network so that individuals needing additional help will be linked to useful facilities in their area,’ she said.

To register, visit www.ocdnotme.com.au.