Mental health charities have reacted with anger after discovering high street store Paperchase had been selling handwash mocking Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

The chain – which has 130 stores across the UK – was selling a hand sanitiser called OCD which mocks sufferers.

Directions for the product read: ‘Open cap. Sanitize. Close cap. Open cap. Sanitize. Close cap. Make sure cap is firmly closed. Recheck cap. Are you sure it’s closed?’

The illness affects more than 700,000 Britons and their sufferers have branded the product ‘disgusting ‘ and ‘offensive’.

Emily Davis, 21, has suffered with OCD all her life and caused a Twitter storm after discovering the product was being sold in Paperchase.

‘OCD is a very serious disorder that ruins lives,’ she said.

‘It is a recognised mental health condition, and many people will have had personal experience of it or know someone who has.

‘I feel the notion we should be able to just ‘laugh off’ this product is incorrect.

‘This product mocks contamination OCD. Sanitiser is not inherently harmful, and is a useful tool when used correctly. But, when used incorrectly, the consequences can be terrible. I’m publishing my photo for the first time to show when my hands were at their worst because of my obsessive sanitiser use.

‘I’ve always hidden this picture, but I’m going to be brave and share it because people need to know how serious this is.

‘This product should be removed from sale. It is not being sold maliciously but out of ignorance and I want to change that.’

Emily, 21, of Wimbledon, London, tweeted the image calling for it to be removed from sale and received a wave of support from fellow sufferers.


Others who found it offensive included Jessica who tweeted: ‘That is really quite upsetting and offensive.’


Megan Marshall added: ‘As an OCD sufferer myself that is disgusting.’


Another tweet from Nichola JW said: ‘That’s an utter disgrace, OCD is life-shattering, not a joke.’


Sue Baker, director of mental health charity Mind’s Time To Change campaign, said she had already expressed her concerns over the product to Paperchase.

She said: ‘Products that poke fun at or stigmatise people with mental health problems can cause very real harm by sending the message that conditions such as OCD are trivial and even humorous, making it harder for people affected by these issues to speak out and seek help for them.’

Paperchase has now removed the product from sale but online stores, including Amazon still sell it.


It is unclear how long the store was selling it. Amazon reviews read ‘great gift gag’ and ‘good joke value’.


Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, added: ‘This product is extremely crass and insensitive and it’s really disappointing that Paperchase are selling it.


‘OCD is not a funny personality quirk, it is a mental illness which can be very debilitating and it affects around 1.2 per cent of the population.


‘The last thing people who have the condition need to see is it trivialised in this way.


‘Paperchase would never sell a product that made fun of a physical illness like diabetes or heart disease, so why should people with mental illness have to put up with it?


‘Last year, Asda stopped selling a ‘mental patient’ fancy dress costume after a major public outcry against it.


‘We’re calling on Paperchase to do the right thing by withdrawing this product.


‘There is already so much stigma around mental illness and ‘joke’ products like this only make things worse.’


A spokeswoman for Paperchase said the company has now removed the product and any remaining items would be taken off the shelves immediately.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder which affects 12 in every 1,000 people in Britain.


Sufferers often display repetitive behaviours alongside the need to obsessively check things, hand washing is one way the condition displays itself.

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