Our Caretoons series offer a fun and safe way to talk to kids and teens about their anxiety, with entertaining characters who do their best but need support for their mental health. Both Caretoons series, Galaxy Brain and Time Travelling Pizza, introduce Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to young people in a simple, stigma-free way.
In Galaxy Brain, Drexal is an alien living far away in the galaxy. He tries to keep his environment clean to stay safe from sickness, but his fixation on his daily cleaning routine becomes unhealthy. It’s not until his trusted computer sidekick helps him that he can talk about his feelings and open up about his anxiety.
Watch the contamination OCD episode of Galaxy Brain to learn more.
In Time Travelling Pizza, Chris Crust is one cool slice of pizza! But lately, he finds that his health anxiety leads to obsessions and compulsions, which start to interfere with his daily life. He knows that his anxious thoughts are impacting his usual activities and causing him stress, but he doesn’t know what to do to make the thoughts stop. Once Chris opens up about his thoughts in a safe space, he can start exploring his unhealthy thinking patterns and challenge them.
Watch Chris Crust tackle OCD and time travel in Time Travelling Pizza.
What is Contamination OCD?
OCD is a neuropsychiatric illness that often begins in childhood and has a negative impact on family, academic, and social aspects of life. Children and youth with OCD often have obsessions or unwanted and upsetting thoughts. They are also prone to have images or ideas that get stuck in their heads. People with OCD continually perform compulsions or ritualistic behaviours and routines that they believe will ease anxiety or rid them of obsessions temporarily or permanently.
Contamination OCD and its associated compulsions can be time-consuming, isolating, and even harmful for young people; for example, constant hand-washing can cause painful rashes or other skin issues. The desire to keep ourselves and our space clean is healthy, but when we crave clean so badly it becomes an uncontrollable obsession preventing us from living the life we want, help is needed.
Help relieve anxiety related to OCD in youth and children: Anxiety Canada offers tools that can help with contamination OCD, like our printout on managing OCD at home.
How to Help Youth with Contamination OCD
Both Drexal the Alien and Chris Crust have trusted companions that help them process their emotions. Their loved ones help them begin their journey towards dealing with their anxiety. As you start a dialogue with a child or youth about their contamination OCD, ensure they feel safe to discuss what they’re feeling and take things at their own pace.
Tools such as facing your fears, keeping track of triggers and responses, and challenging unhealthy anxiety responses can start a person on the right path to overcoming their OCD.
It may take a long time to overcome OCD or deal with compulsions and behaviours in a healthy way, but talking and working through unwanted thoughts makes the healing journey easier. It takes practice and reflection to change habits in our thoughts and actions, plus lots of encouragement!
The nature of an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder makes it easy to get trapped in a vicious circle. Learn more about the OCD cycle and how to break or OCD cycle and how to break or delay rituals.
Our Caretoons series can help stimulate helpful discussions with youth about anxiety, including separation anxiety, OCD, social anxiety, and more. Watch all the episodes on our Caretoons page (or on YouTube).
See more of Anxiety Canada’s useful resources on children and anxiety.
Print out our downloadable PDFs and other printable resources for parents, teachers, and healthcare providers supporting a child with anxiety.