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Boohoo criticised for selling Christmas pyjama set 'mocking' OCD

The Independent logo The Independent 06/12/2018 Sabrina Barr
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Boohoo has been heavily criticised for selling a pyjama set with the slogan “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” written across the front, with many people stating that they find the reference to the mental health illness offensive.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that affects approximately 12 out of every 1,000 people, according to charity OCD UK.

People who have been diagnosed with OCD often find it insulting when the term is used in an improper manner, as mental health awareness advocate Mara Wilson explained in a recent interview with The Independent.

The 'Plus OCD Christmas Lounge Set' being sold on the Boohoo website (Boohoo) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The 'Plus OCD Christmas Lounge Set' being sold on the Boohoo website (Boohoo) “It annoys me when people talk about OCD as a personality trait, because I think that one of the reasons that I didn’t get treatment for a long time is because I thought OCD was just an attribute," she said.

The "Plus OCD Christmas Lounge Set" being sold on the Boohoo website has sparked outrage online, with numerous people expressing their disappointment in the fashion brand.

"Uh @boohoo why do you think it's acceptable to trivialise mental illness like this," one person wrote on Twitter.

"OCD isn't fun or something to make a joke from, it's serious and can be very debilitating."

"Hey @boohoo, what's with these pyjamas? OCD is a real, valid mental illness, that effects and can destroy lives [sic]," another person tweeted.

"It's not something to make jokes about.

"I know for a fact that there would not be pyjamas with jokes about depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia etc."

Boohoo isn't the only major high street company to have been condemned for trivialising OCD in the lead up to the festive season as of late.

Last month, TK Maxx received a backlash for stocking a range of cookie jars and plates embossed with the statement: "I have OCD... Obsessive Christmas Disorder."

The department store later announced that it would be removing the products, in a statement released by OCD UK.

"We've spoken to TK Maxx this morning who acknowledge our concerns and are currently in the process of sending information to the stores to ask they remove the offending products," the statement read.

Jo Loughran, director of mental health movement Time to Change, explains to The Independent how products like the pyjama set can have a negative impact on people living with mental illness.

"It's disappointing to see a mental health problem used as part of a Christmassy 'joke' in a way that we'd never see of a physical health problem," she says.

Gallery: Celebrities who have spoken out about mental health (Photos Services)


"While it may seem that casually using the phrase OCD in these ways is harmless, people living with the condition tell us it diminishes the seriousness of what is often a very debilitating illness.

"It fuels misconceptions and stereotypes which ultimately makes life even harder for people experiencing OCD.

"At worst, it can add to feelings of isolation and shame, and prevent people speaking out and seeking the support they need."

The Independent has contacted Boohoo for comment.

Video: What is obsessive-compulsive disorder? (Newsweek)

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