Help for hoard­ers

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY AN­GELA BROWN News staff

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.

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