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Good Morning Britain's Sean Fletcher has opened up about his son’s struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, after the teen was left waiting nine months for treatment.
On Thursday’s edition of the morning talk show, the 47-year-old journalist shared his experience as a parent caring for his son with a debilitating mental health disorder.
Sean's 18-year-old, Reuben, was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in 2015 after his parents noticed his unusual behaviour was intruding into his everyday life.
Speaking candidly to Kate Garraway he argued the disorder need to be treated just like any physical injury.
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He said: “My son has OCD. That was the situation, I don’t want to go on about my situation too much, but we found that we waited nine months to get care, to get the right level of care for our son.
“I mean, if he had broken his leg and you waited nine months, that would be headline news, wouldn’t it? It was sort of, that’s just what happens.”
Kate responded: “We do need to get to a point, don’t we, where we can view mental ill health in the way that we, fortunately, do most of the time tackle physical ill health.”
Sean first opened up about his son's debilitating illness when he attended an unexpected Heads Together London Marathon launch with Prince William.
When asked what cause he was running for, he blurted out "my son has OCD" and felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Since then he has continued to speak openly about the stigmatism surrounding mental illness.
In an interview with mental health charity, Young Minds, he shared how OCD has impacted their lives as a family for an illness that is “completely misrepresented in society.”
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He said: “OCD has affected him so much he missed almost a year of school. He’s battling his worst nightmare in his head 24/7 which has prevented him from doing everyday things in life.
“OCD is a bully. Reuben is beating the bully most days now, but on the most difficult days the bully managed to drag the whole family into arguments and distressing situations.
“Before we knew it, my wife and I found our own mental wellbeing in jeopardy.”
The couple decided to share their son’s diagnoses to help other families going through similar issues and help to destigmatise the mental illness.
The TV presenter, who recently stepped made his acting debut, said: “His view is, if one young person who’s struggling in the same way hears his story and realises they’re not losing their mind, then he’s happy. I was proud of him.
“I hope Reuben and his friends will be living in a country with a much better understanding of mental health, where mental and physical wellbeing are understood, funded and catered for equally.”
Good Morning Britain airs from 6am on ITV1.
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