Hoarding, affecting 2-6% of the global population, is not simply a matter of too much stuff, but a complex disorder that presents significant challenges for individuals and their communities. Efforts are being made to better understand the condition and develop targeted interventions, moving beyond the crisis approach to early intervention and long-term management.
- Last year, the London Fire Brigade responded to over 1,000 fires related to hoarding, resulting in 186 injuries and 10 deaths. This illustrates the serious public safety issues associated with hoarding.
- Hoarding, previously misunderstood and often trivialized in media, is now recognized as a major public health issue, affecting up to 6% of the global population. It is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions, comparable in prevalence to depression.
- The cost of addressing hoarding situations can be substantial, with an example showing an average cost of £45,000 for maintaining a hoarder in social housing over the course of their tenancy.
- The preventive approach to hoarding involves early intervention, gaining the trust of the individual, and working on gradual but lasting progress, instead of waiting until the hoarding behavior becomes a severe safety risk.
- Over the past decade, hoarding has been identified as a standalone psychological disorder, which has led to a significant shift in understanding and dealing with it. However, there is still much work to be done in developing effective treatment and intervention strategies.