Are OCD forums the right way to go?
When I began my recovery journey a little over three years ago, I went looking for resources on the web about OCD. One of the things I looked for, beyond canned information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, was a place where I could communicate with other people that had the same thoughts, emotions and rituals as me. I scoured the Web looking for such a place. I found a few but most of them were small communities that featured just a few people making infrequent posts. There didn’t seem to be a lot going on.
One place was very different. That was the forums run by OCD-UK, a charity out of the United Kingdom. (www.ocdforums.org) The forums there were very active, with thousands of registered users and lots of very helpful people. I began reading posts on the forum and felt like I had found a place where I could be myself and express myself to other people on the same road to recovery as I.
It wasn’t long after I started visiting the OCD-UK forums that I began to help other people. It was great. I was recovering and found that other people wanted to hear my message and how I managed to get as far down the road as I did. If you’ve ever been to those forums, and a good chunk of you probably have, my screen name there is PolarBear. Fast forward to today and I have posted more than 10,000 times, always trying to help people on their own journey to recovery.
The OCD-UK forums are by far the largest OCD forums, and most active, on the web, at least that I can find. It’s truly a community of OCD sufferers helping OCD sufferers. It’s a great place and I must commend Ashley Fulwood, CEO of OCD-UK for starting the forums more than 10 years ago and managing the community for this long.
There is a catch about those forums, however. It is UK based. The majority of users on the forum are from the UK. I should interject that the UK seems to be so much farther ahead than Canada of the United States when it comes to mental health advocacy. OCD-UK welcomes people from all over the globe but it is and remains a UK based charity that is dedicated to helping people from the UK. The OCD-UK website focuses on treatment options in the UK. The problem is that in North America, we don’t have a comparable community forum for OCD sufferers here.
Some time ago I set up forum software on this website. It didn’t go over well at all. But that was at a time when this website was very small and had few visitors coming to it. Today OCDLife.ca is a bigger enterprise. It’s still small as websites go but I think it is impressive that there have been 14,000 unique visitors at the website in the past 90 days. Those visitors look at thousands upon thousands of pages while they are here. The majority of visitors to this website are from around North America.
So here’s the questions… Should OCDLife.ca relaunch an online forum for its visitors? Would it be worthwhile? Is it needed?
This is not to say that I don’t think sufferers are not well served by the OCD-UK forums. But I wonder if a North American focused forum would lend itself to being used frequently by sufferers in Canada and the United States.
So here’s the thing: What do you think? Should I give it a try and relaunch the forum software for this website? Would you like to be part of a new community of OCD sufferers who share their knowledge and experience with other sufferers? Leave a message below this post or send me an email at okpoet (@) shaw.ca I’d very much like to know your thoughts.