The Hoarding Ice-Breaker Form was first published in 2017, and officially launched in May 2018 at the National Hoarding Conference in London (at the Emirates Stadium, home to Arsenal FC) which was organised by the charity HoardingUK.
The idea of an icebreaker form for people affected by clutter, disorganisation and hoarding behaviours came about in 2017 when Professional Hoarding Practitioner Cherry Rudge (founder of Rainbow Red – Decluttering, Organising & Project Management Services) came across a similar form created by the charity OCD UK, which empowered people to start a conversation with their GP if they thought they might have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Cherry recognised the need for something similar, because:
- She came across far too many people who felt unwell stigmatised and embarrassed about living with clutter, disorganisation or hoarding behaviours, and yet failed to:
- seek medical treatment to improve their health and wellbeing
- allow people into their home, including family, friends and trades people – hence why people often had (for example) no heating or hot water.
- often even be aware they were living in unsafe or unhygienic conditions, self-neglecting or being abused…..
- Her trips to pharmacies to dispose of vast quantities of unused out-of-date medication (mainly anti-anxiety tablets or anti-depressants) that she’d removed from clients’ homes had become a regular occurrence, and she was intrigued as to why the clients hadn’t taken them.
- Many of her clients:
- Had health problems that prevented them from managing and maintaining safe and healthy lifestyles due to the chaotic state of their homes.
- Had no family, friends or trusted people they could turn to for advice, help or support – other than her.
- Lacked confidence (especially in social situations) and wouldn’t know what to say even if they did pluck up the courage to speak to their GP.
- Had mental health issues and were taking medication (mainly anti-anxiety tablets or anti-depressants) that wasn’t helping to improve their ability to cope with things like planning, organising, making decisions, multi-tasking, starting/finishing tasks, managing time, managing emotions, etc – difficulties that are commonly related to having Executive Dysfunction.
- Cherry suspected they exhibited symptoms of Neurological conditions, and didn’t know they might have them.
- With complex needs and hoarding behaviours had experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) or traumas as an adult, and had received little or in-effective trauma-related therapy (often none at all) and/or a diagnoses of a Personality Disorder which may have been wrongly diagnosed.
And so the Hoarding Ice-Breaker Form was born.
The form now has its own dedicated website, Facebook page (with over 500 followers) and Twitter account (@HoardingIce), and been translated from English into Dutch, Polish and Spanish (with various other languages pending).
So far it has been viewed online over 4,800 times by people from 50 countries around the World, and downloaded over 950 times.