2 out of 50 people pull out their own hair. This is a damaging psychiatric disorder that is usually chronic. There is no cure and little treatment. Trichotillomania (trick-o-TIL-o-mania) disrupts the day-to-day lives of sufferers, creating feelings of intense shame and isolation. Though hair pulling is over three times more common than anorexia, it remains one of the most enigmatic disorders of mental health. Few are familiar with the disorder, and even fewer understand how to treat it.
Katie Koppel has dedicated her life to spreading awareness of trichotillomania. She was featured in the U.S. News and World Report and her work has been shared by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Active Minds. Through the TLC Foundation for BFRBs, Koppel launched the 2015 Awareness Week campaign for hair pulling, #thisisme, which reached 1.15 million individuals on Facebook.
In October of 2016, Katie created the campaign #notalone through the TLC Foundation for BFRBs, which engaged hundreds of thousands of individuals with hair pulling and related disorders. Her work, which focused on the intersection between awareness building and the discovery of genetics-based treatments, was featured by NPR. She gave a live chat, hosted by The Mighty, which received nearly 20,000 views and elicited thousands of stories from those who experience, or know someone with, a body-focused repetitive behavior.