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We're supporting National Hoarding Awareness Week

Hoarding awareness

Gateshead Council are supporting National Hoarding Awareness Week, taking place this week, to help raise awareness of what hoarding is, and to encourage those affected to get support.

Hoarding is when someone keeps a large amount of items stored in their home.

It is different to just collecting items. Hoarding creates a clutter that can be incredibly hard to manage.

Often hoarded items are of little value - newspapers, old post, magazines, paper and plastic bags, things that most of us would throw away, as well as clothing, shoes, keepsakes, computer equipment, or things intended for repair. Sometimes people will hoard animals or out-of-date food, which can lead to welfare or hygiene concerns.

Hoarding is recognised as a mental health disorder and someone who hoards can show behaviour associated with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression, but what are the signs that someone may be a hoarder?

  • Excessive shopping or regular deliveries
  • Becoming extremely attached to items and suspicion of other people touching them
  • Difficulty in making decisions regarding their possessions and anxiety when trying to throw things away
  • Losing functional space in their home due to inappropriate storage
  • Feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed about their untidy home
  • A lack of visitors or a refusal to answer the door to callers

This behaviour can have harmful effects for a hoarder, their family, friends and those who may care for them in a professional capacity, including:

  • Poor relationships or becoming isolated from family and friends
  • A lack of self-care and poor hygiene
  • Financial difficulties
  • Pest infestations
  • Increased risk of fires
  • Child protection issues
  • Breaches of tenancy agreements

People who hoard often don't understand why they do it and it can be difficult to help a person overcome this behaviour.

Help is available

If you think that you or someone you care about may be a hoarder please contact our Adult Social Care team on 0191 4337033 or complete the online form on our website.

For additional support residents should contact their local GP in the first instance.

Read Helen's hoarding story...

Helen hoarding
This is Helen. Helen didn't know she had a hoarding disorder until Gateshead Council's housing team carried out a home visit and expressed concerns about the amount of household items accumulating in the property and that she may injure herself or be unable to seek help quickly in the event of a fire.

While Helen agreed to dispose of some of the hoarded items, she was thankful for the support she received from our Housing Officers.

"I knew I had to clear the clutter that was slowly filling my house, but I couldn't do it alone. The team at Gateshead Council were so helpful and gave me the courage and motivation I needed to make a change."

Over a three-year period, Helen worked hand in hand with her Housing Officer in making her home clean and safe, and sought professional support to help her manage underlying issues that were contributing to her hoarding. This included throwing away much of what she had collected, as well as donating a quantity of it to charity.

Helen has since downsized into a bungalow, which she agreed would be manageable and suitable for her needs, and continues to receive regular support from her Housing Officer.

"I wanted to share my story to let others know what hoarding is and how if adversely it affects you. Part of my problem is that my home was too large, and as the clutter began to build up I felt very isolated. It really wasn't good for my mental health.

"I just had a light bulb moment where I realised how big the problem had become and the impact it was having on me, and the support I've received since from the council and other professionals has been life changing."

 

 

 

 

Hoarding awareness
13 May 2022

Gateshead Council are supporting National Hoarding Awareness Week, taking place this week, to help raise awareness of what hoarding is, and to encourage those affected to get support.

Hoarding is when someone keeps a large amount of items stored in their home.

It is different to just collecting items. Hoarding creates a clutter that can be incredibly hard to manage.

Often hoarded items are of little value - newspapers, old post, magazines, paper and plastic bags, things that most of us would throw away, as well as clothing, shoes, keepsakes, computer equipment, or things intended for repair. Sometimes people will hoard animals or out-of-date food, which can lead to welfare or hygiene concerns.

Hoarding is recognised as a mental health disorder and someone who hoards can show behaviour associated with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression, but what are the signs that someone may be a hoarder?

  • Excessive shopping or regular deliveries
  • Becoming extremely attached to items and suspicion of other people touching them
  • Difficulty in making decisions regarding their possessions and anxiety when trying to throw things away
  • Losing functional space in their home due to inappropriate storage
  • Feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed about their untidy home
  • A lack of visitors or a refusal to answer the door to callers

This behaviour can have harmful effects for a hoarder, their family, friends and those who may care for them in a professional capacity, including:

  • Poor relationships or becoming isolated from family and friends
  • A lack of self-care and poor hygiene
  • Financial difficulties
  • Pest infestations
  • Increased risk of fires
  • Child protection issues
  • Breaches of tenancy agreements

People who hoard often don't understand why they do it and it can be difficult to help a person overcome this behaviour.

Help is available

If you think that you or someone you care about may be a hoarder please contact our Adult Social Care team on 0191 4337033 or complete the online form on our website.

For additional support residents should contact their local GP in the first instance.

Read Helen's hoarding story...

Helen hoarding
This is Helen. Helen didn't know she had a hoarding disorder until Gateshead Council's housing team carried out a home visit and expressed concerns about the amount of household items accumulating in the property and that she may injure herself or be unable to seek help quickly in the event of a fire.

While Helen agreed to dispose of some of the hoarded items, she was thankful for the support she received from our Housing Officers.

"I knew I had to clear the clutter that was slowly filling my house, but I couldn't do it alone. The team at Gateshead Council were so helpful and gave me the courage and motivation I needed to make a change."

Over a three-year period, Helen worked hand in hand with her Housing Officer in making her home clean and safe, and sought professional support to help her manage underlying issues that were contributing to her hoarding. This included throwing away much of what she had collected, as well as donating a quantity of it to charity.

Helen has since downsized into a bungalow, which she agreed would be manageable and suitable for her needs, and continues to receive regular support from her Housing Officer.

"I wanted to share my story to let others know what hoarding is and how if adversely it affects you. Part of my problem is that my home was too large, and as the clutter began to build up I felt very isolated. It really wasn't good for my mental health.

"I just had a light bulb moment where I realised how big the problem had become and the impact it was having on me, and the support I've received since from the council and other professionals has been life changing."

 

 

 

 

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