Raising awareness of hoarding as a mental health disorder

We're supporting National Hoarding Awareness Week (15 to 19 May 2017). We want to reduce stigma around hoarding and encourage hoarders and their families to seek help from family, friends and professionals, including the housing service.

Hoarding is recognised as a mental health disorder. Many people who hoard have suffered traumatic life events and may have other mental health issues. Hoarding is different from collecting. Collectors value each item in their collections and usually store them in a methodical way, even if the collection becomes very large.

Hoarding means keeping many items in a chaotic, disorganised way that interferes with everyday life. Often the items are of little or no value, such as newspapers, carrier bags or old clothes. Some people hoard animals or food, which can lead to welfare or hygiene concerns.

People who hoard often don’t understand why they do it and resent outside interference. It can be difficult to help the person overcome this behaviour. We want to offer friendly, practical help and advice about how to tackle the problem of hoarding. Former hoarders who have accepted help can now enjoy their own home again, can invite friends and family to visit and are no longer at increased risk of fire or health problems.

If you think that you or someone you care about may be a hoarder, please contact us in confidence. Council tenants should speak to their housing officer in the first instance by calling 01442 228000 and asking for Housing.

Other Dacorum residents are advised to speak to their GP or the community mental health team. For more details, visit our mental health page.