When a popular national programme like Good Morning Britain decides to present a feature on OCD, it would normally be something to look forward to. An opportunity to hear from someone affected by OCD about the impact it has had on their life and how they cope with it, ideally with input from an expert helping viewers gain a better understanding of OCD’s debilitating consequences.
We were, therefore, very disappointed to see the recent interview with Michelle Mone giving a very different portrayal. Michelle said she ‘loved’ having OCD, saying it was very helpful in business as it ‘makes you really organised’.
We are used to seeing media misrepresentations of OCD, giving the impression it is a quirky condition concerned with neatness or checking things. This interview went further, portraying OCD as a positive boon, helping someone succeed in business. To their credit, the interviewers did attempt to probe further about the negative impact of OCD, but gained little additional insight.
OCD Action appreciates the importance of positivity. As a debilitating mental health condition, OCD can ruin lives. We want to promote positive tales, demonstrating how those affected by OCD have been able to successfully deal with its impact. It is vital though that any media representation of OCD gives a realistic portrayal of that impact.
Michelle said she had no diagnosis of OCD, and we are not qualified to comment on whether or how she is affected. We have written to Good Morning Britain to say that in future we would hope that they ensure that anyone interviewed does have a diagnosis, and that they also take the opportunity to gain expert insight. We have stressed that we would be prepared to work with them in the future to ensure that they use more appropriate case studies.
The media can play a huge part in correcting misconceptions of OCD, and portrayals of the devastating impact of OCD can make for compelling viewing. OCD Action will continue to develop relations across all forms of media, to ensure that future portrayals give a true reflection of what OCD means to many people.