On Thursday 18 July 2019, Knox City Council hosted a workshop for people who are supporting family members with hoarding and squalor behaviours.
Theworkshop was facilitated by Dr Chris Mogan of The Anxiety Clinic.
The main points highlighted were:
- Hoarding is now recognised as a mental health condition and impacts between 3%-6% of the population
- An individual’s level of insight (or lack of) into their hoarding behaviour is the most difficult factor to address, combined with the possibility of cognitive decline
- Dr Mogan was able to provide participants with helpful information to both help support someone with the hoarding behaviours and strategies to maintain resilience of family members or friends:
– support someone to shift their thinking about decluttering to donating or recycling rather disposing
– one off cleans are more damaging than productive in that they cause
greater distress and anxiety
– people with hoarding behaviours benefit from understanding that even
when they are feeling anxious, the anxiety will pass and they can still
– start at small tasks and understand that progress takes time and
expect there to be relapses
– build routines that have regular days/times for decluttering.
In Australia, the focus of support is on harm minimisation and ensuring children and animals are well protected, as well as increasing an individual’s safety in the home by having working smoke detectors and clear entry and exit points.