Adversity: Hospitalized for severe OCD as a child
Advocacy: Published his OCD recovery story in “The Thought That Counts”
“I started to realize, as I’m talking to others about pushing themselves harder I had to do what I was saying, I had to push myself harder. It became a powerful motivator.”
Like so many other children, at age 11 Jared Kant went off to summer camp. But unlike most of his peers, Jared found the experience virtually unbearable. Within a week of arriving at camp he felt disoriented, uncomfortable in an unfamiliar way. He became fixated with what he calls bizarre situations he created in his head. His obsessions were so severe he became bedridden, unable to leave his cabin. Shortly after he returned home from camp he was hospitalized for the first time and diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. At age 12, he was again hospitalized, this time because he was suicidal, his extreme anxiety dominated by contamination fears – specifically exotic illnesses – and a fear that he had done something horribly wrong. It was at age 16 that he began getting control of his OCD through a combination of medicine and therapy. At age 17, he began Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
It was after attending Curry College that Jared began writing his childhood OCD memoir and working as a research coordinator at the Massachusetts General Hospital OCD and Related Disorders Program. During his time as a researcher, Jared became increasingly aware of the barriers others face in accessing treatment and he grew frustrated. He found the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and turned his focus to applying to social work school, becoming an advocate for those with limited resources. “The families that I work with are a step between outpatient and inpatient. If a child would usually be in a hospital, but could be maintained in the community through intensive support and family therapy, that’s where we are. We connect people to services.” He concentrates on pediatric care in part, he says, because he has been through what they are going through. “It allows me to be more sensitive to a child’s experience, to things they can’t articulate.”