‘I spent hours washing because of my OCD’ - Sheffield man’s mental health campaign

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A student who could not leave his room and spent hours washing every day because of obsessive compulsive disorder is calling for compulsory mental health education in schools.

Foyez Syed’s petition has already been signed by 26,000 people and if it gets to the milestone number of 100,000 then it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

The 25-year-old PhD engineering student, of Crookes, was diagnosed with his condition as a teenager but did not feel able to seek help until he was at crisis point five years later.

He said: “When I first started to experience symptoms I was 14 but at the time I didn’t know what a mental illness was, how to clarify if I had one or where to get help.

“Because there is a stigma around mental health I didn’t tell anyone.

“It was scary, I didn’t really know what was going on. Instead of getting help I just got worse and worse and it took me five years to go and get help and that was only because I was in crisis.

“I couldn’t leave my room and had to drop out of university.

“I had a fear of being contaminated and because of that I had compulsions which relieved my anxiety which were to do with washing, so I ended up spending hours of my day in the bathroom.”

Foyez who dropped out of a course at Manchester University but has since completed both treatment to help him cope with it and a degree at The University of Sheffield, believes that if he had been taught about mental health at school he would have sought help earlier.

He started his online petition three months ago and has been overwhelmed by the support.

The Government has also responded, saying the vast majority of secondary schools already teach pupils about mental health and promote positive mental health but they should be free to develop their own approaches.

Foyez added: “There is a lack of education about mental health and there is a stigma that exists.

“I think a lot of people, because there is no education, get their information about it from TV and the media which can desensitise mental health

To sign his petition {https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104545 |CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS|}