Do you have a family member or friend who is a hoarder or living in squalor? Maybe you have noticed that they find it hard to throw away old newspapers, junk mail or possessions they no longer need. Or perhaps your friend or relative has not allowed close family and friends into their home for many years.

Hoarding disorder is a complex mental health condition with many health, safety and quality of life risks for sufferers and people around them. Situations of hoarding can lead to living in squalor, fire hazards, risk of homelessness, social isolation and mental health issues.

Regardless of the extent of the situation, there are many services and help options available to support both you and your family member or friend affected by hoarding. This includes emergency services such as Police, Fire and Ambulance, community support services, health and welfare services at local, state and federal levels and business services such as rubbish removal and cleaning services.

As a family member or friend, the most important thing to remember is that different approaches are required for different individuals.

Building a trusting relationship with your relative or friend is the first step in helping them. Remember, in many cases, people affected by hoarding or squalor have experienced some form of trauma to reach this point.

Supporting a friend who may be a hoarder or living in squalor requires patience, persistence and determination.