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Wednesday, May 10, 2023
1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT

Hoarding essentials: What to know and how to help

May is Mental Health Month, and this year Mental Health America is spreading education and awareness through our campaign Look Around, Look Within to amplify how our environments impact mental health.

Hoarding disorder is a mental health issue that is thought to impact approximately 5% of the general population. To help someone who exhibits hoarding behavior, it is important for family members and friends to educate themselves about how to identify the problem and how to respond to it. Attendees will learn about the do’s and don’ts of helping in a hoarding situation, learn what resources are available to provide informed support, and hear from someone with lived experience.

In this free 60-minute session we will:

  • Learn about hoarding disorder as a mental health challenge.
  • Develop strategies and skills to assess hoarding disorder.
  • Plan steps to assist a friend or family member who exhibits hoarding behavior.
  • Identify resources to support persons who hoard and those who want to help them.

Meet the Speakers

Suzanne Otte is a clinical social worker who provides therapeutic support to clients who experience a range of mental health challenges, including hoarding disorder. As a master of social work student at Boston University (BU) School of Social Work, Otte joined a team of research scholars who studied compulsive hoarding and received training to lead CBT-based group and individual treatment. Following her studies, she continued to collaborate with the BU team while delivering presentations in the community, leading treatment groups, and writing about hoarding disorder. In addition to hoarding-related work, Otte lectures at BU, maintains a private practice, and facilitates equine-assisted mental health programs.

Elizabeth Barr is a peer counselor at Mental Health Association San Francisco (MHASF) who brings her own experiences with hoarding disorder to her peer work. She is a presenter, research assistant for better treatments for hoarding disorder, and a one-to-one peer counselor. Elizabeth facilitates buried in treasures classes, advanced drop-in group, and family & friends support group at MHASF.

Learn more about Mental Health Month