Understanding Hoarding – Part 2 (Instrumental Health – A Mental Health Documentary Series)


[Music] What is happening, is that housing, who are the landlords, are not social-care trained, are not mental-health trained, have the onus of the problem because it’s their property, so they are, sort of, put in the position of reaching out to social services, reaching out to mental health services, and being told there’s nothing there, and undertaking this process themselves. What we know is that statutory services particularly are looking at this in a cost way, so it costs this to help a person who hoards, but what we know is that it actually costs much more not to help them. I was in court once and this woman had taken her space down from a level nine to a level seven – it was still dire. The judge would not listen to me – “We do not have the time, Miss, to undertake an item-by-item removal of things. There’s been cuts to social care, cuts to this…” I’m standing next to three lawyers. Can you show me a pound that has been spent on help? Not one. And not a single pound in that entire intervention, which took place over five years – They sectioned her. Wrong. The minute I walked in, they let her go. They bullied her. They forcibly moved her. They ripped out everything into her house and left things undone so she still doesn’t have heat. It’s such an awful thing and tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of pounds on that. We don’t, as an organization, blame social care or mental-health services or environmental health. What we are trying to do is say let’s do this differently. We understand the reality of you cannot have a fire hazard, you cannot have a house full of newspapers in your patch. But how we’re doing that – that’s the bit that that matters. If we look at the fact that the person is not cleaning their own house because of the psychological distress. If we look at the inability to throw things away or the compulsive acquisition as a dysfunctional coping mechanism, then what our aspirational aim is is to help a person move away from this dysfunctional coping mechanism into something that is better for them, as we would want with anyone, so if the outcome is that the house is being maintained in a better way for them without as much distress and without as much – you know, we do want a person to be independent and working on the adult tasks of maintaining a home, but to us it’s much more about the why, because when we answer the question or help the person to get to an understanding, that’s where the change comes. This person can probably tidy up your house better than you – it’s not about that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *