Art with Heart (with the backing of several organisations including the ADHD Foundation, The Granada Foundation, Essex County Council, Arts Council England–the full list is available via the link at the end of this post) presents Declaration, a curious, colourful and candid exploration of ADHD, mental health and diagnosis.
Declaration is a play that examines the faces we wear to fit in and what happens when we are forced to declare our differences. Developed in consultation with medical professionals, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and mental health support groups, Declaration challenges stereotypes with a curious, comic and candid look at ADHD, mental health and diagnosis in the 21st century.
Instinctive, curious, bold and bouncy, Sarah is a mighty proud square peg which wouldn’t be such a problem if the hole wasn’t so damn round. Her childhood Doctor thought it was sugar. Her current Doctor thinks its ADHD. Sarah still feels different, so what will a label do? Will it change the way you see her and the way she sees herself?
With autobiographical storytelling, comedy, and conversations with audiences, Declaration takes you on a vibrant and daring adventure that asks you to roll around in your weirdness, make a hat out of it and dance.
Declaration is currently on a Spring/Summer Tour and a list of the tour dates and venues with booking information as well as a trailer for Declaration is available from the Art with Heart e-flyer.
Here at AADD-UK we avidly followed the news about mental health issues during Mental Health Awareness Week. We admired the bravery of those telling their own stories, we retweeted some general mental health links instead of those that only dealt directly with ADHD, all the while preparing for our 10th Year Anniversary by revamping our website. Then suddenly we realised we’d forgotten the elephant in our own parlour! So we decided to write, just before the week ended, our own position for Mental Health Awareness Week.. Here it is:
First, we thanked the Mental Health Foundation for hosting the week, and thanked them for commissioning the survey and consequent report “Surviving or Thriving? The state of the UK’s mental health.” The authors of the report wrote that despite “many areas of advances in human health we are not seeing these reflected in mental health. If anything, the signs are that we are slipping back.” They backed this up by shockingly disclosing that only 13% of those surveyed in England, Scotland and Wales had “high positive mental health” and that nearly “two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem” and others were clearly “just about surviving.”
The authors further reported that those of us living with either low household incomes or unemployment have worse mental health than those employed at higher incomes. 3 in 4 people at the lowest income level, 85% of unemployed people, 7 in every 10 women, 7 in every 10 young adults (aged 18-34), and 7 in 10 people living alone experienced poor mental health. Additionally, the authors quoted the “Mental Health and Wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014” (published last year) which revealed that every week 1 in 6 adults experienced a “common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression. 1 in 5 adults reported that they had considered taking their own life at some point.”
I sat in silence and reflected upon those numbers and felt an overwhelming sadness. So much unnoticed desperation and despair! Swiftly followed by anger; “Who can I blame?” “Where shall I point my finger?” You see, all this correlated almost exactly with our own experiences in the ADHD world.
It’s been almost 10 years since we set up AADD-UK with hope and optimism. During that 10 years, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published ADHD Guidelines in which adults were included for the first time. Of course there was some initial resistance but over the years more and more professionals became interested, more and more moved into the field, more and more research confirmed ADHD as valid (even the usual tabloid suspects now, tentatively, report positive ADHD stories) and there are more ADHD services in the UK than the 3 that existed 10 years ago.
But all is not well! As awareness of ADHD grows, funding for ADHD services dwindles. Some GP’s, due to funding shortages, are reluctant to refer us to services. In truth, not all of the ADHD services have enough funding to meet the NICE Guidelines. It’s even been suggested, in one known circumstance, that the Guidelines be disregarded. A couple of services have surreptitiously tried to close. Some have decided not to publicise their contact details for fear they’ll get more referrals than allowed for by their funding. Of course, this means that waiting lists are getting longer and longer; even up to 2 years long! It’s true that gate keepers and sign posters cheerily point us to psychological therapies suggesting we use them while waiting. But guess what? Yep that’s right! We’re shuffled onto the end of another waiting list where some of us must try not to listen to whispers about the low quality of the offerings. So, there we are, stuck waiting, struggling to cope with abysmally low self-esteem, hurting, lonely, barely surviving. What does this matter when it’s said that ADHD makes us resilient, that we’re used to hard knocks, that we’re survivors? It matters because we understand too well that surviving is not thriving and that knowledge is painful!
And what about those of us who’ve been diagnosed and are taking medication? We’re all thriving right? Well not exactly. Medication is indeed all that some of us need. We can now concentrate as well as focus better. That helps us to, at last, move on and up. It helps us to feel relief as well as feel the joy of achievement. Some of us can even choose between seeing a consultant privately for follow-ups or waiting months to see the same consultant on the NHS. There’s a group of us too who, after a competent diagnosis of ADHD, don’t need any further help, not even medication. It’s enough that somebody listened, took us seriously, evaluated patterns underlying our difficulties, and found a way to help us understand. That’s all we needed to find our own way, to thrive and flourish.
Some of us, though, have been so pressured and battered by an uncomprehending and stigmatising life that the clarity that comes with medication also carries the aching revelation that our graceful childhood spirits have turned into cut-down and subjugated ghosts. Taking the right medication is not all we need. Before we can move from surviving to thriving we need help, we need to rediscover our true spirits, our real potential. Yet we’re stuck in the low income, or underemployed, or unemployed bracket. So we ask the NHS for help, get sign posted to psychological therapies, by the same cheery folk our clan members encountered, and off we shuffle to join the end of a waiting list. There we are waiting, masks firmly in place (we don’t want pity), acting as if we don’t care but feeling worn-out, inside crying, mourning for our lost and trusting childhood. We’re surviving and that’s all!
Still, at least the mere fact that we’re waiting allows us a bit more hope than those of us who’ve not been noticed. Some of us in this group are being shuffled from one wrong diagnosis to another wrong diagnosis, from one wrong medicine to another wrong medicine. Never having our true reality heard or acknowledged. Some of us become disheartened, lose faith and sink into helplessness. And then what about those of us who learn to believe from early on that we are seemingly born to live life as a failure, never understanding why that appears to be our fate? All of us too are barely surviving!
It’s such a waste because every single one of us with ADHD has the potential to flourish. We would love to use our strengths and abilities to help others, to be a benefit. We don’t need much. Just the right attention and the right support at the right time. Actually you know what? That’s not hard to provide!
Now I’m angry again so I’m jumping right off the fence and pointing my finger squarely at you, the Government. I’m pointing at you, Theresa May, as well as at you, Jeremy Hunt. If you get back in charge, for goodness sake stop with your wasteful changing, privatising and building inequality into the health service. Instead, if you really care about helping people to thrive, helping the country to prosper (you do, don’t you?), stand back and for once look at the big picture.
The prevalence rate for children with ADHD is between 5 to 7%, of whom approximately 65% will continue to experience symptoms in adulthood. In other words, roughly 3% to 4% of all adults have ADHD. To make it clearer, about 1 in 25 adults have ADHD. That’s a lot of us! That’s a lot of us costing you a lot of money!
Leaving us unrecognised, undiagnosed, untreated or treated ineffectively, or pushing us onto waiting lists is costing you, the Government, a lot of money in lost tax revenue, inappropriate treatments, repeat visits to A&E, clearing up after our accidents, looking after our brothers and sisters in prisons, and so on and so on (you want evidence, ask and we’ll give it freely). It’s cheaper, far cheaper, to increase NHS mental health funding so that all of us can receive proper help! We want to use our strengths, abilities and skills. We can use them to thrive and flourish!
And here’s a final note, the need for mental health awareness and funding did not disappear with the end of Mental Health Awareness Week. The two thirds of people living in England, Scotland and Wales who’ve experienced mental health problems, including all of us with ADHD, are still here on Monday morning. Funding and treatment for everybody experiencing mental ill health is still needed and is still vital. With that, and with preventative care, all of us will thrive and flourish and so too will the country.
I’ve had my say for now! It’s time for you, the Government (whichever of you ends up in charge) to listen and act!
The UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN) will host its 7th Congress from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd September 2017 at the Mermaid Conference and Events Centre in London.
The title of this conference, ADHD in the Mainstream, reflects the increase in recognition and treatment of ADHD by adult mental health services. But despite the fact that ADHD is a common disorder, and despite the fact that the role that ADHD plays in the health of many adults presenting with mental health problems is more recognised, recent evidence suggests that the disorder is still being unrecognised or untreated for many adults using mental health services. Since there is considerable psychiatric morbidity associated with ADHD, this lack of full recognition leads to unnecessary distress to individuals, ineffective targeting of treatments, poor control over chronic mental health problems and the development of adult onset disorders later in life.
Licensed drug treatments for adult ADHD are now available for the first time, including both stimulant and non-stimulant mediation and recommendations from guideline groups such as the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The importance of concurrent psychological treatments is also recognised.
Mainstream psychological treatment services need to develop the understanding and skills required to manage mental health problems related to ADHD. This conference, therefore, is designed to raise the level of awareness, knowledge and expertise among health care professionals about people with ADHD and to provide a better understanding of the persistence of the disorder, the development of comorbid mental health problems as well as the delivery of effective treatments.
This conference is relevant for all health care professionals interested in the mental health of people from the adolescent years through to early, middle and later adult life.
The program will be delivered by prominent opinion leaders, clinical experts and internationally recognised investigators and is designed to cover key topics relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD from adolescence to early and late adulthood. The selection of speakers is particular important so that the audience can hear directly from the most experienced professionals working in this rapidly developing area of clinical psychiatry.
The Scientific Programme, list of speaker, and registration information are all available on UKAAN’s website here https://www.ukaan.org/adhd-in-the-mainstream/
UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN) is currently investigating the role of excessive/uncontrolled mind wandering in ADHD. As part of this research they are conducting a survey on mind wandering, ADHD and the links to educational and occupational outcomes, including both potential impairments and benefits (such as creativity) that might be linked to mind wandering in ADHD.
They have already collected a large sample of around 1,000 non-ADHD controls. Now they wish to compare this to findings from patients who have been diagnosed with ADHD. They are therefore looking for clinicians working in adult ADHD clinics to help them by handing out information sheets to patients with ADHD which invites them to take part in this research by completing the online survey.
If you are willing to assist in this research please contact Professor Philip Asherson by email (email@example.com). They would like your name, work address and name of your NHS Trust, or if in a private clinics, just the address of the clinic, to add your site to the current ethics for this work.
If you wish for further information please contact Professor Philip Asherson. He can then send you a copy of their recent publication on this topic, and a rating scale that can be used to measured excessive mind wandering in adults with ADHD.
The Departments of Child Psychiatry and Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Science at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, are looking for right-handed male volunteers with ADHD between 18-35 years of age to participate in a research project.
The project is studying areas that may cause difficulties for some people with ADHD, such as attention, timing and decision-making. This is not a treatment trial and participation in this project won’t help you directly. However, they hope that this project will help them better understand these difficulties and develop ways of helping people with ADHD who may have problems in some of these areas. For further details please UKAAN here: https://www.ukaan.org/research-by-ukaan-members.htm
If you have any questions, please contact Dr Clodagh Murphy at the IoPPN: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call 0207 848 0984.
BBC Horizon is making a documentary exploring ADHD. There will be two strands to the documentary and so they are looking for two groups of contributors with experiences with ADHD as follows:
Call out #1
“Does your child have ADHD?
BBC Horizon is making a documentary exploring ADHD, aiming to create a wider public understanding of the condition. Presented by Rory Bremner, a comedian with a particular interest in ADHD, the BBC is hoping to shed light on this commonly misunderstood condition.
The BBC wants to meet parents of children with ADHD who can tell them about what life’s like; and to also hear from their child about their own experience of the condition.
If you’re interested, please get in touch with Zoe on email@example.com, just for a chat in the first instance. The BBC will be very pleased to hear your story.
Call out #2
“Do you have ADHD? Do you feel it has it impacted your life?
BBC Horizon is making a documentary exploring ADHD, looking at the variety of ways that mild to severe ADHD can impact people’s lives in both a negative and or even positive way: with the aim of to increasing public understanding of this condition. It will be presented by Rory Bremner, a comedian who has first-hand experience of the condition. For a specific item of the programme, we want to hear from people with ADHD who feel their condition might have contributed to them entering the criminal justice system.
Please do get in touch if you think this is you. In the first instance, it would just be a chat on the phone – you do not need to commit to anything upfront.
The BBC appreciates the sensitive nature of the subject, and will handle all calls with the utmost confidentiality and respect.
The BBC is interested by the fact that ADHD is overrepresented in the prison population, and are interested in speaking with people who feel as though their ADHD may have contributed to their criminal behaviour. They hope that by sharing your story, the BBC can help to shed light on this commonly misunderstood disorder.
If you’re interested, please get in touch with Zoe on firstname.lastname@example.org: just for a chat in the first instance.”
The UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN) will host its 6th Congress from Wed 20th to Fri 22nd September 2017. This 3 day conference will take place at the Mermaid Conference and Events Centre, which will accommodate up to 600 delegates in a Theatre. The venue is situated between the City and the West End, on the North Bank of the Thames, and enjoys spectacular views towards the Tate Modern, Globe Theatre and the Millennium Bridge.
The conference is titled ‘ADHD in the mainstream’ to reflect the rapid increase in recognition and treatment of ADHD by adult mental health services. ADHD is a common disorder effecting around 5% of children and 3% of adults, with symptoms and impairments that overlap with other common mental health disorders. The role that ADHD plays in the health of many adults presenting with mental health problems is now much more widely recognised, yet recent evidence suggests that in many cases the disorder still goes unrecognised or treated. Our vision is to bring ADHD into the mainstream, so that all mental health professionals have the knowledge and understanding to diagnose and treat ADHD, in the same way as other common mental health disorders.
This meeting aims to raise the level of awareness, knowledge and expertise among health care professionals about people with ADHD and provide a better understanding of the persistence of the disorder, the development of comorbid mental health problems and the delivery of effective treatments.
The program will be delivered by prominent opinion leaders, clinical experts and internationally recognised investigators and is designed to cover key topics relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD from adolescence to early and late adulthood. The selection of speakers is particularly important so that the audience can hear directly from the most experienced professionals working in this rapidly developing area of clinical psychiatry.
Registration is now open on the UKAAN Website http://www.ukaan.org/adhd-in-the-mainstream/
This is an online survey investigating if mind wandering can lead to differences in our education, occupation, and creativity. Everyone’s mind wanders, but we all do it to a different degree, so what is its impact? For some it may be useful and lead to creativity or working in a certain profession. For others it may have a negative effect, perhaps by making it difficult to learn at school. Severe mind wandering that just won’t seem to stop could also be associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). By exploring the relationship between these things researchers can better understand the impact of mind wandering and the extent to which it affects peoples’ lives.
This project is being organised by researchers at the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London.
Before you decide if you would like to take part, it is important that you understand why the researchers are conducting this research and what your participation will involve. Please read this information sheet carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Also, please ask the researchers if anything is unclear or you would like further information. Contact details can be found on the Information Sheet here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0s7RDt2l670bVBfNFEzSVRqbGc/view
What participating involves
You must be aged 16 or over to participate. You will be asked to complete the online survey, which takes around 10 – 15 minutes. You do not have to complete it in one session; you can save your responses and return to it at a later time (but it must be within 1 week of starting the survey). You will be asked questions about your education, occupation, health, behaviour, and personality. By participating you can contribute to research that can further our understanding of the implications of mind wandering.
Participation is entirely voluntary. You should only participate if you want to; choosing not to will not disadvantage you in any way. If you decide to take part you can still withdraw from the study at any point without giving a reason, up until the point of data analyses. Selecting the relevant boxes in the electronic consent form indicates your consent to participate in this research, and for all submitted data to be used. This includes submission of partially completed surveys, whereby pressing the ‘next’ or ‘continue’ button indicates your consent for data entered up to that point to be included in the study.
There will also be a chance to be entered into a prize draw to win one of five £50 Amazon vouchers when you complete the survey.
The Survey is hosted by Qualtrics (www.qualtrics.com), a survey platform that treats all data as highly confidential. The data does not belong to them and they do not know what data is being collected. They use best industry practices to keep data safe and their servers are protected by high-end firewall systems. Any information you provide in this study will be kept strictly confidential, and any personal details you provide will be kept separate from your survey responses ensuring anonymity. You will be provided with a unique identification number which will be used for all your data stored on our database. Information will be handled in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act 1998. During analyses individual data will not be identifiable.
Results arising from this study will be included in a PhD thesis and presented at international academic conferences and published in academic journals. The researchers may also disseminate research findings through media outlets, including social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).
Questions and queries
If you have any questions or require more information about this study, please contact the researcher. Contact details are on the information sheet.
To complete the survey, please use the following link:
Please help us with a study from the University of Exeter. The project is about children and young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in transition between children’s services and adult services.
One piece of the project, however, is a mapping survey designed to find out which adult ADHD services are out there for young people with ADHD aged 18 and over to transition into from children’s services. This means that this survey can be answered by any person of any age who has knowledge of ADHD services, whether they have ADHD themselves or not and whether they are a parent/carer or not.
If you click on this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CATCh-uS_SU you will be guided to a page where you can tell the researchers about adult ADHD services in your area – or equally important the lack of adult services. The online questionnaire asks no more than 8 questions and should take less than 5 minutes to complete.
The survey is anonymous and your response will contribute to the creation of a map detailing adult ADHD services currently available in the UK. If you want more information about the project, the research team have a website where you can find more information: http://medicine.exeter.ac.uk/catchus/mapping/
Thank you very much for helping us with this project.
We are currently updating our website and so far we have added new information to 3 of our Library pages, namely ADHD in the News, Research Articles, and Books. And we have also added new ADHD events to our Calendar.
And at long last we are in the process of adding new names, and updating contact details, on our lists of Psychiatrists, Psychologists/Counsellors, Occupational Therapists (a brand new list so we’ve only got one name at the moment), Coaches, and Support Groups. So if you would like to have your services added to our lists, or to have your details updated, you will find how to contact us on the relevant page. There is no charge for adding your details to our website because we are managing and maintaining this website as a free resource for the ADHD community.
When we have completed our lists of Help & Support, we will be updating and adding new information to the remainder of our pages so please bear with us.
And in the meantime please feel free to join us in our support forum where you can ask questions and chat with others about all ADHD matters.
Update on 2nd May 2014: to email sent to the Opposition Chief Whip regarding Graham Allen MP and his guest Dr Bruce Perry of “ADHD not a real disease” infamy.
I have not yet had a reply to the letter below which I sent on Tuesday, 8th April 2014 despite the fact that I was told by a member of Rosie Winterton’s staff that we would get a reply within two weeks.
I was polite and gave them three weeks to allow for the Easter week, and then rang Rosie Winterton’s office yesterday morning (Thursday, 1 May 2014) at 9:15 am. An equally polite chap answered the phone, he recognised the name of AADD-UK and he knew about our complaint. He explained that the Special Advisors (Spads) were “looking at it” and would get back to us. I asked which Spad in particular is “looking at” the complaint, and if he had any idea when the Spad would get back to us. The polite chappie said he didn’t know when we would get an answer because he’s just the civil servant, but he did give me the name of the Spad, Luke Sullivan. The civil servant also told me that he’d again put our complaint in front of Luke Sullivan.
Fingers crossed this is more promising than it sounds! Somehow the “Thick of It” popped into my mind during this conversation.
Just as a BTW I see that Luke Sullivan was a Spad in the Chief Whip’s office when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister (2009) which surprised me because I thought Spads got sacked when their bosses left. The document I looked at also gave his pay scale which wasn’t bad, not bad at all considering that he was only in pay band 2 which was near the bottom.
And just in case you are wondering who Rosie Winterton is, well she was Labour’s pension minister when The Telegraph wrote about her on 29th May 2009 in relation to the expenses scandal. And if you read the article (click here) you will see that her salary wasn’t bad, not bad at all, and much, much better than Luke’s.
Now I’m going to confess to you that before I rang Rosie Winterton’s office I had an ADHD moment and by mistake I rang the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (that’s the office that found Maria Miller MP guilty of claiming £45,000 in expenses to which she wasn’t entitled, and was then subsequently overruled by a committee of MP’s–beg their pardons there were three lay members on the committee except of course they weren’t allowed to vote).
After we’d sorted out that I wasn’t talking to the person I thought I was, we had a nice chat about how members of the public can hold MP’s accountable for their conduct (after I’d explained that we’d already written to Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, Rosie Winterton, and of course Mr Graham Allen himself and were still waiting to hear from any of them) and as a result of our little chat I’ve now learnt that as members of the public we’ve got 3 options namely vote next year (duh!!), get legal advice (expensive waste of money when we already know Graham Allen is wrong,) or go to the media (aha!).
So there we are for the moment; waiting to hear something (hopefully more than nothing)from Mr Luke Sullivan, SpAd to Opposition Chief Whip, Rosie Winterton MP Labour. We’ll keep you updated!
Further Update: 2nd May 2014 p.m.
And now we read in the Closer that Katie Hopkins (the former apprentice that Sir Alan Sugar called unemployable) has made it her mission to attack mothers of children with ADHD. Even worse according to today’s article in the Closer, Katie Hopkins was “inspired into ‘badmouthing’ ADHD children by Dr Bruce Perry” and what’s more the remainder of the article contains several unhelpful remarks about ADHD that were made by Katie’s ‘hero’ on the eve of his visit to the UK. Dr Perry was invited to the UK by Graham Allen MP. So thank you very much Mr Allen for encouraging the likes of Katie Hopkins!
Tuesday, 8th April 2014
The following email has been sent from AADD-UK to the Opposition Chief Whip:
Right Honourable Ms Rosie Winterton, Opposition Chief Whip
I am writing on behalf of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder – UK (AADD-UK) to make a complaint about Mr Graham Allen. We have tried to resolve the matter directly with Mr Allen but he has not responded.
Mr Allen has endorsed an article that appeared in the Observer on Sunday, 30th March 2014 titled “ADHD ‘not a real disease’ says US neuroscientist.” Mr Allen has placed a photograph of this article (30th March) on his official Twitter account (@GrahamAllenMP) along with the caption “Dr Bruce Perry, my Early Intervention hero, in UK today, want to attend his EIF events over next 2 days?”
In addition, Mr Allen also has placed a photograph on Twitter (1st April) which is captioned “Dr Bruce Perry speaks to Labour shadow ministers this morning”, this photograph and caption gives the appearance that Dr Perry’s views could potentially also be the Labour Party’s views (I have attached copies of Mr Allen’s Tweets).
We feel that Mr Allen is potentially in breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament namely:
1. Members have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination.
We feel that it is harassment for a public figure, an MP, to invite and host a doctor who in the past has spoken against ADHD, and then to publicly approve his guest’s stigmatising opinion made on the eve of his visit to the UK that ADHD is not real. It is harassment not only because ADHD is a recognised disability that meets the requirements for a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, but also because people with ADHD in the UK already had significant problems with daily living intensified by shame generated from home-grown discriminatory comments and behaviour. We did not, therefore, need Members of Parliament validating such derogatory opinions and thus causing us further humiliation and distress.
2. Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.
Given that the prevalence rate for ADHD in the UK is between 2-5%, it is more than likely that Mr Allen has constituents with ADHD. His inviting and hosting a guest such as Dr Perry who openly speaks his mind about ADHD, followed by Mr Allen’s public endorsement of Dr Perry’s views makes it nearly impossible for Mr Allen’s constituents who either have ADHD themselves, or care for someone with ADHD, or have a friend or relation with ADHD to contact him and ask him to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. It also means that they are excluded from political activities for as long as Mr Allen remains their MP.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence, in 2008, completed a full review of the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD across the lifespan and published guidelines in September 2008. These guidelines did help to stimulate the development of service provision for ADHD in the UK. But ADHD services, particularly for adults, are still too scarce in the UK. This is of relevance for children and young people because as they transition from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services there are frequently no adult services available in their area. And unfortunately austerity measures have meant that many mental health services have been cut, and sometimes waiting lists for ADHD services can be as long as 18 months! Indeed sometimes the barriers are so high that people with ADHD have resorted to asking their MP’s for help accessing services. This makes it all the more disappointing that Mr Allen presents himself as endorsing the view that ADHD is not real, because this means that people will be deterred from going to their MP’s for help, not just for ADHD matters but for any reason.
Mr Allen is not setting a good example and this is not good for the nation because the proportion of people receiving treatment for ADHD in the UK is lower than the prevalence rate and failure to treat ADHD is costly to society. There is plenty of evidence to show that untreated ADHD leads to increased rates of unemployment, addictions, criminal convictions, and poor social adjustments. I have included links to relevant documents at the end of this email.
In addition, when Mr Allen endorsed Dr Perry’s opinions in a Tweet and followed this up with a Tweet accompanied by a photograph of Labour Shadow Ministers listening to Dr Perry, and a photograph of Dr Perry with Francis Maude the perception was created that it could be Labour policy as well as Coalition Government Policy to discount ADHD as a valid disorder. That’s a deterrent that would inhibit the rest of us from also engaging with the entire political process.
3. Members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them. They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public resources.
Dr Perry would possibly not have had a chance to express his opinions in the UK media if he had not been invited to come and meet Government ministers by Mr Allen. But he was invited here, and his opinions have been endorsed and validated by Mr Allen, not just by the publication of the photograph that we described earlier, but by the fact that Mr Allen helped Dr Perry meet with Government officials including Iain Duncan Smith, Jeremy Hunt, and Francis Maude (see attached photograph) and also with Labour Shadow Ministers. This creates the further perception, rightly or wrongly, that taxpayer money is being used to help promote anti-ADHD views, as well as to pay for the time of ministers and others who met with Dr Perry, who sat and listened to his presentations, and who in at least one case was photographed with him.
4. “Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.” (V, 10)
We most definitely feel that Mr Allen has confused and mixed his personal interests and opinions with public interests regarding his work in early intervention, his reports about early intervention, as well as his creation of the Early Intervention Foundation. We are concerned that Mr Allen invited, hosted, and endorsed Dr Perry who on the eve of his visit to the UK to meet with Government ministers on behalf of Early Intervention expressed to a major newspaper the biased and inflammatory opinion that ADHD is not real because that makes us wonder how Mr Allen’s Early Intervention Foundation will be able to provide “practical advice and support to those trying to make Early Intervention a reality on the ground” when at the core there appears to be a complete lack of knowledge and acceptance that a common neurological disorder affecting behaviour and attention is indeed real.
To resolve this conflict in favour of public interest we feel that ADHD should always be a consideration in anything relating to early intervention whether it be of Mr Allen’s design or that of others, and we would like written assurance regarding that. We should also like Mr Allen to withdraw all photographs and references relating to Dr Perry from his Tweets and that includes the photograph of the Observer article. And finally we would like a letter of apology from Mr Allen which we will publish.
At the bottom of this email is a sampling of some of the articles that appeared in the traditional press repeating response to Dr Perry’s opinions (Dr Perry was also widely quoted in many other news sources, various blogs, forums, Facebook, and Twitter), as well as a sampling of information about ADHD.
I look forward to hearing from you.
AADD-UK has sent the following email to Graham Allen MP with copies to Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, & Andy Burnham:
Dear Mr Allen,
I am very sorry to say this but one of your tweets (at 12:46 p.m. on Sunday, 30 Mar 2014) has caused considerable offence. It is a photograph of a newspaper article entitled “ADHD ‘not a real disease’ says US neuroscientist” and above it you have placed the following caption: “Dr Bruce Perry, my Early Intervention hero, in UK today . . .”.
I have attached a copy of your tweet.
The offence caused by the photograph is made worse by your use of the word “hero” to describe Dr Perry.
Also, I don’t know if Dr Perry was misquoted in the Observer, but if he wasn’t it was not helpful for your guest to make such statements about ADHD (an area in which he does not have specialised knowledge) on the eve of his visit to the UK. His remarks, as stated in The Observer, were very widely publicised in many reputable and otherwise newspapers, blogs, and forums. And all this at a time when people with ADHD are already struggling to overcome considerable stigma and discrimination as well as struggling to access much needed help so that they can live fulfilled lives. The firestorm of adverse publicity increased the distress and anxiety of many people with ADHD.
Would you please consider taking down the offending tweet and offering an apology to people with ADHD. I appreciate that you are trying to do your best for children through the Early Intervention Foundation, but since mental health services (and other much needed services) have been badly affected by the coalition government’s cuts, we all, adults included, need at least some politicians that we feel will listen.
I look forward to hearing from you.
So now we are waiting to see if they are listening! We’ll keep you updated!
The UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN) will host its 4th Congress in September 2014, entitled ADHD – Mind, Brain and Body, in conjunction with ENAA and APSARD. The conference will take place over 3 days, at the Mermaid Conference and Events Centre which is situated between the City and the West End in London. Located on the North Bank of the Thames, it enjoys spectacular views towards the Tate Modern, the Globe theatre and the Millennium Bridge. The theatre will accommodate 600 people, and there will also be opportunities to attend parallel sessions throughout the event.
The conference will bring together internationally recognised experts in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD across the lifespan and highlight basic science and clinical research that contributes to our current understanding of ADHD as a lifespan disorder. Clinical services for ADHD during the transition years from adolescence to adulthood and for those newly diagnosed as adults are developing rapidly throughout many parts of Europe. The conference will build on this growing expertise by providing a uniquely European perspective that highlights the full range of functional, cognitive and mental health impairments, the impact that ADHD has on adolescent and adult mental health and the contribution to adolescent and adult psychopathology. This meeting will address important clinical and scientific questions relating to ADHD and will be relevant to anyone interested in the mental health of people from the adolescent years through to early, middle and later adult life.
This meeting aims to raise the level of awareness and knowledge among health care professionals about people with ADHD as they grow older; and to provide a better understanding of the causal pathways involved in the persistence of the disorder and the development of important clinical comorbidities. The program will be delivered by prominent opinion leaders, clinical experts and internationally recognised investigators and is designed to cover key topics relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD during the critical period from adolescence to adulthood. The selection of speakers is particular important so that the audience can hear directly from the most experienced professionals working in this rapidly developing area of clinical psychiatry.
The UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN) was established in March 2009 to provide support, education, research and training for mental health professionals working with adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). UKAAN was founded by a group of experienced mental health specialists who run clinical services for adults with ADHD within the National Health Service.
More information about the 4th Congress, and registration details are available on UKAAN’s website here.
UKAP (the UK ADHD Partnership) will host its first conference on Friday 4th April 2014. This one day event will take place at the Thistle Charing Cross Hotel, London, with a conference on ‘Reducing the Costs of ADHD across Education, Health and Care’ .
The aim of the meeting is to introduce, education, healthcare and allied professionals to the UKAP committee’s objective to raise the profile of ADHD on the political agenda in order that young people with ADHD gain better recognition and access to treatment across educational, occupational, youth justice and healthcare settings.
UKAP would also like to invite parents, carers other voluntary sector organisations and support groups who are working to support ADHD, to join them in their call to action which seeks to inform policy makers and authorities of the importance of early identification and intervention.
With presentations on the costs of ADHD, the impact on education, the family, the youth justice system, health service, accidental injury and driving, UKAP will consider what can be done to reduce the burden of ADHD on children, the family and more broadly in society. The programme will include presentations by prominent opinion leaders, and internationally recognised clinical and educational practitioners.
This meeting will be relevant to all education and healthcare practitioners working with children and young people, together with allied professionals involved in multi-agency working including educational, occupational and youth justice settings, as well as commissioners and policy makers.
For more information and registration details see the UKAP website here.
On line course on ADHD:
Reviews, thoughts, or details of other courses gratefully received.
AADD-UK has received permission from Mike Birtwistle, Head of MHP Health, to reproduce his analysis as to how the Health and Social Care Bill is now set to become an Act, barring any last-minute dramatic revelations. We asked for Mike’s permission because his analysis helps us to understand how these reforms might impact our access to assessments, diagnosis, and treatment for ADHD, and also helps us to figure out how we can address impacts resulting from these reforms.
Close to an Act: how did the Health and Social Care Bill get passed?
Submitted by Mike Birtwistle on 20-03-2012
It’s all over, bar some (more) shouting. The Health and Social Care Bill is nearly law but, after hundreds of hours of debate, thousands of amendments and countless controversies, what will it actually mean? And how on earth did it ever get passed?
Theoretically the Queen could decline to give Royal Assent to the Bill, as Unite suggested last week. However, barring any constitutional outrages or last minute shocks in the Commons, it will become an Act. And the Health and Social Care Act will represent one of the longest and most complex items of health legislation ever known. That it passed through a hung Parliament, in the teeth of such controversy is no small feat.
For better or worse, the Act will represent one of the most profound pieces of reforming legislation ever (alongside the Attlee reforms of the 1940s and some of the market reforms of the last Conservative Government). I believe all three sets of reforms have problems, but the scope of their impact and ambition is undeniable. Continue reading
The UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN) will hold the 3rd Congress on the 29th June 2012. The theme will be ‘Transition of ADHD from Adolescence to Adulthood’. The conference will be located in Central London at Savoy Place, 2 Savoy Place, City of London WC2R 0BL
The congress aims to bring important topics on transition in ADHD to a wider audience. The scientific program will include five main sessions, with a panel and audience discussion
Clinical services for ADHD during the transition years from adolescence to adulthood and for those newly diagnosed as adults are developing rapidly. This meeting will address important clinical and scientific questions relating to ADHD and will be relevant to anyone interested in the mental health of people from the adolescent years through to early, middle and later adult life.
For more information and registration details for this important conference please go to the UKAAN website.
Brighton Adult ADHD Group has been invited to contribute directly to a new cross-government disability strategy. The Government has published a discussion document with questions and Brighton Adult ADHD Group wants to gather your views, to make sure we represent the experiences of people with ADHD in Sussex.
To share your views please come to our discussion event. We will have a speaker from the Office for Disability Issues.
Date: Wednesday 7th March
Time: 18.30 – 20.00
Location: The Brunswick Room, The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD
Light refreshments will be provided
For further information please contact Caroline Williams on 01403 733931
We want to talk about practical ideas that will make a real difference to your life. The Government has asked us to focus on three areas:
We have made a questionnaire with questions relating to each area that can be downloaded here. It would be helpful if you could fill in your responses before coming to the meeting, and bring them with you. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please email your responses as soon as possible to email@example.com
We will send a report of our event to the Government. They will look at everyone’s suggestions and work with disabled people to publish a new strategy later this year.
If you want to find out more visit www.odi.gov.uk/fulfillingpotential
AADD-UK has not yet received an official response to our letter (see previous post on this subject) regarding the actions taken by NHS Trusts and Commissioning Groups in Cambridgeshire which restrict access to NICE recommended treatments for people who are diagnosed as adults with ADHD. However, we notice that the new low priority policy for ADHD has been removed from the website for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Public Health Network and has been replaced by the words “Please note this policy has been temporarily withdrawn.” You can read this for yourself here.
Now we do realise that this removal could just be coincidence, and may or may not be a good sign. But Cambridgeshire County Council, who also received a copy of our letter, has made a very positive move. The Council’s “Adults Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee” has listed under Agenda Item 7a (for their meeting on 8 February 2012) in “Committee priorities and work programme 2011/12” the following: “Provision of medication for adults with ADHD: The Chairman has received representations from individuals with ADHD on this issue. It is proposed that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, with the support of the Scrutiny and Improvement Officer, follows this up with NHS Cambridgeshire.”
Well done and a big AADD-UK Thank You to Councillor Kevin Reynold, the Chairman of the Committee!
The meeting of the Adults Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee is open to the public so if you live in Cambridgeshire and have been affected by the low priority policy do please go to the meeting. The meeting is on Wednesday 8 February 2012 at 2:30 PM in the Kreis Viersen Room, Shire Hall, Cambridge. More details are available on their website here.
And again, Thank You Councillor Reynold!