Shining a light on OCD

by | Oct 21, 2016 | News, North

Aleema Ali

News Reporter

In honor of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Mental Health Awareness week, the Humber College Lakeshore campus has held a variety of events throughout the week.

Joanne Spence, coordinator for the Mental Health and Addictions post grad program at Humber said the Oct. 11 to 14 activities included lectures, art therapy, yoga, aboriginal healing, mindfulness sessions and even a film festival to raise awareness about mental illnesses.

Spence said OCD compels an individual to do certain things or behave a certain way to ease their anxiety. For example, switching lights on and off a certain number of times.

OCD, like any mental illness, can be frustrating to those that suffer from it. This can negatively affect their social lives, school life, work etc.

People base their relationships off trust, communication and honesty, but when they hold things back, it puts a strain on the relationships

“When we’re ashamed of things, we pull back. We try to avoid contact with people, we don’t let people really see what’s often going on. That in itself is limiting,” Spence said.


(Aleema Ali)

Risa Handler, counsellor at Humber Lakeshore’s Student Success and Engagement Centre, facilitated a Stress and Wellness Check-up: Depression, Anxiety and Stress screening Oct. 14.

Students suffering from OCD may have found this session particularly helpful since anxiety is associated with this mental illness.

The event let students and staff answer a series of questions and add up their scores to determine how depressed, anxious, or stressed they were and provided a sensory table.

Once students completed the questionnaire and checked their score, they were awarded with a goody bag filled with information about the services the Student Centre offers and healthy snacks.

The sensory table was to help students and staff calm their nerves and destress using things that played on all five of their senses. For example, Play-Doh was provided for students to touch and dabble with to help relieve tension or stress.

Rachel Bebbington, a third year Child and Youth Care student, was one of the many that had to attend the events for her Mental Illness class. She attended one of the art therapy sessions but felt it did not do what it was intended.

“I didn’t like it very much. The activities didn’t give me a sense of how art can be therapeutic. I appreciated the presentation but just would have liked to learn more about the effects of art therapy,” Bebbington said.