Curtin University researchers have been awarded $464,476 to develop the program, ‘OCD? Not Me! designed for young people aged 12-18.
Associate Professor Clare Rees and Dr Rebecca Anderson, from Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, said people with OCD become preoccupied with negative thoughts and behaviors that can control their lives.
“People with OCD may have rituals or strong compulsions to do certain things repeatedly, in order to banish the daunting thoughts.
“This can include repeated hand washing, checking of doors, switches and appliances to having to complete mental check-lists or keep objects in straight lines,” she said.
“When OCD is severe, the obsessions can be extremely distressing for a young person and impacts their academic, social and family life.
“OCD is thought to affect 0.5-2% of children and the World Health Organization has ranked it as the tenth leading cause of disability in the world. More than 450,000 Australians will develop OCD at some time in their lives which is why research is so important,” she said.
The program also provides techniques and tips for the family to help them assist the young person to overcome the anxiety disorder.
Associate Professor Clare Rees said, online treatments were a cost-effective, flexible, accessible way for clients to access treatment, especially for people who are reluctant to undertake face-face therapy or who lack access to services.
It will also include a national referral network so that individuals needing additional help will be linked to useful services in their area.”
The ‘OCD? Not Me! program has been funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (Mental Health Promotion Section) and will run for the next 2.5 years.
The service is free and fully automated and potential participants will undertake an online assessment to evaluate the suitability of the program.
If you would like to register your interest, visit www.ocdnotme.com.au.