Help due to be provided for those in Halifax

A new program offered by the Family Service Association in Halifax is trying to curb the growing number of people in the municipality who are being buried by their own belongings.

The association is a not-for-profit agency that offers professional counselling and education services.

In the last four years or so, workers at the association have seen about a dozen people come to them annually for help dealing with hoarding.

hoarding help offered to those living in Halifax“A lot of them parallel what we see on reality TV, the tiny pathway that takes you from the front door to the one chair — everything else loaded with stuff — to those homes that just save or hoard one particular object, so it runs the gamut,” said association executive director Valerie Bobyk.

She said there were few or no programs to help hoarders in the area so the association started its own.

Bobyk estimates it costs $25,000 to run the program however about one-third of this is being paid for by the Mental Health Foundation.

The association hopes to raise the rest of the money through donations.

How does it work?

Hoarders will have 10 weeks of counselling with staff who have a masters degree in social work. When that’s completed, a professional is due to be brought in to help clean out the person’s home.

“We’re all about recapturing some of the living space. We hope the lightened atmosphere in the home, maybe additional window light or having less stuff around … will help with the compounding mental health issues like depression or social anxiety or whatever,” Bobyk said.

She also said that at the root of hoarding there is usually some kind of mental health problem. Hoarding can be brought on by everything from grief to an obsessive compulsive behaviour.

People have already enrolled in the program. The home visit to begin decluttering is scheduled for the middle of June.

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Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at for help.

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