Millions fear public toilets

A study aims to look into the reasons why millions of people around the world are said to suffer from a fear of using public washrooms.

The study will investigate “toilet phobia” in a bid to understand this common anxiety and to help sufferers find coping mechanisms. 
 
According to clinical psychologist Dr Simon Knowles, toilet anxiety is estimated to affect around four million people in Britain alone. He adds that in extreme cases it can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to socialise, study and work. 
 
The study will be carried out in Australia but a UK group already recognises the condition and is looking at ways of addressing it. Anxiety UK takes hundreds of calls relating to various aspects of toilet-related anxiety, and aims to raise awareness of various forms of help available to sufferers. 
 
Fear of using public washrooms can start at a very young age. According to the Bog Standard Campaign run by Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence, many schoolchildren avoid using the toilets at school because these are dirty, smelly, lack basic provisions or are not sufficiently private. 
 
ERIC has developed various tools to address the problem including information on toilet design; a factsheet on fundraising so that schools can take toilet provision into their own hands, and a School Toilet Award aimed at encouraging schools to ensure their toilets meet the needs of pupils. 
 
• Washroom systems designed to reduce mess and prevent toilet tissue, soap and hand towels running out can vastly improve the school washroom environment. 
 
Systems such as the Tork SmartOne® Toilet Roll system; the Tork Matic® Hand Towel Roll and Tork Foam Soaps all ensure a long-lasting supply of washroom hygiene products in the school toilet.

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