Hoarding Awareness week is an initiative started by the National Fire Chiefs Council. It launched at the houses of Parliament in 2014.
Hoarding is a very misunderstood condition. Many individuals and authorities can approach hoarding without awareness of the situation.
Here is Keith’s story;
If a child or adult is in immediate danger call 999.
To make a referral to social service visit https://www.suffolksp.org.uk/concerned/
Or if you can’t access the internet call 0808 800 4005.
To speak to Havebury about what support we can offer call 0300 3300 900. And ask to speak to someone about your concerns. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoarding as a mental disorder
Estimates suggest more than a million people in the UK may have hoarding issues. Hoarding is now considered a standalone mental health disorder. It can also be the symptom of other mental health disorders.
Hoarding disorder is difference from the act of collecting. It is not a lifestyle choice. It is also different from people whose property is generally cluttered or messy.
Other mental health disorders often associated with hoarding are;
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Signs of Hoarding
Someone who hoards may exhibit the following:
- Inability to throw away possessions
- Severe anxiety when attempting to discard items
- Great difficulty categorising or organising possessions
- Indecision about what to keep or where to put things
- Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions
- Suspicion of other people touching items
- Obsessive thoughts and actions. Fear of running out of an item or of needing it in the future. Checking the bin for discarded objects
- Functional impairments, including loss of living space or social isolation. Family or marital discord, financial difficulties, and other health hazards
Hoarding and Fire Safety
Hoarding presents extra fire risks to individuals, these may include;
- Individuals may not be able to escape in the event of a fire incident
- Acceleration of fire spread and intensity by hoarded material
- Materials can increase smoke development
- May not want people to access their space. Meaning repairs on property and utilities not reported and corrected
Not only could the individuals living inside the property be at risk but also fire crews. When attending a fire there may be;
- Increased heat
- Reduced visibility
- Restricted access down narrow channels
- Structural instability due to heavier loads in the property
- Entrapment of crews
- Reduced search patterns
Do you have a clutter problem?
People have very different ideas about what it means to have a cluttered home. For some, a small pile of things in the corner of an otherwise well-ordered room is serious clutter. For others, only when the narrow pathways make it hard to get through a room does the clutter register. To make sure we get an accurate sense of a clutter problem, below you will see a kitchen in various stages of clutter. From completely clutter-free to very cluttered. Local services would get involved around image 5/6.
If you or someone you know would like to talk about hoarding please call Karen Smith 0300 3300 900 Ext 2273.