Help for hoarders
A series of empty cereal boxes, a gazillion gaskets, and a tonne of TV sets – all in the kitchen. And the mound is growing and creeping into the living room.
It may sound likes someone’s strange nightmare but to a secret hoarder this may describe his or her dark reality.
A workshop will be held by the Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry Hoarding Coalition February 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Glengarry Inter-Agency Group (GIAG), at 3525 County Road 34, to discuss hoarding and how sufferers can find help. Those who plan to attend the free workshop must regis-gter by February 18 at of[email protected]
“I think people are talking about it more,” said Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Champlain East intensive case manager Mark Snelgrove. “The idea is to come and learn what services are available for anyone. Hoarding crosses all ages, demographics and financial lifestyles.”
The coalition includes representatives from a range of services and agencies, including first responders, police, mental health, children’s services, bylaw enforcement, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, seniors’ treatment centres, Community Care Access Centre, and Carefor.
Mr. Snelgrove said since the problem impacts not only the sufferers but also their families and the community, many different agencies are involved in the coalition.
A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items.
“If someone has a hoarding situation it really is something that expands across a variety of life areas,” said Mr. Snelgrove. “It’s much bigger than just removing items from a home. You are dealing with an awful lot of emotional distress and disturbances as well.”
Compulsive hoarding, also known as disposophobia, is a mental health issue that can be too difficult for sufferers to deal with alone.
People with the disorder often don’t realize that they have a problem.
That’s why the coalition was formed -- to help sufferers and their families lead more safer and enjoyable lives.
“If children are in an unsafe environment, the idea is to get the home environment back to being safe,” said Mr. Snelgrove.
Hoarding can also be a fire hazard if individuals can’t enter or exit their homes easily or if combustible materials are stacked next to an ignition source, such as a stove, furnace or lit candle. “That’s a huge fire concern,” said Mr. Snelgrove.
The coalition will offer people practical assistance to show them how to declutter their home and provide counselling.