Where are we now?

When we first launched this campaign in March 2017, there were no other campaigns like it existing in the UK.

In government, only a small handful of politicians (specifically: Jeremy Corbyn, Norman Lamb, Annette Brooke, Gregory Campbell, Martin Caton, David Simpson, Dr William McCrea and Margaret Ritchie) had mentioned ADHD, proposed a motion to support, or even voted on a motion in support of ADHD for over thirteen years.

Since we launched #AttentionUK in March 2017, the tide has shown signs of turning. 


Organisations such as ADHD Action have backed our call for better ADHD services, and Jo Platt has committed herself to the new APPG on ADHD, for which we are deeply grateful.

The #ITakeMyPillsBecause hashtag, started by the wonderful Jessica of @howtoADHD, gained international traction in response to a damaging Netflix production which perpetuated stigma on medicating for ADHD. Jessica was already a great ADHD ambassador long before our campaign was founded, and if you’re not familiar with her already, we’d strongly recommend checking out her YouTube channel (@howtoADHD) for any and all of your ADHD-video related needs!

Additionally, Mr Daniel Johnson MSP has spoken out about ADHD stigmatisation in Parliament and on social media. The nature of politics makes it extremely unusual for any politician to share anything about their personal opinions or private life which could cause any possible risk to their reputation. Daniel Johnson, however, has not only been willing to risk media criticism by defending the use of medication for ADHD, but he has even made his own ADHD diagnosis and medication status public in a show of true solidarity with all adults with ADHD in the UK. His courage and determination is inspirational, and he is an ambassador to us all.

We have launched our own Media Guidelines to try and tackle the ongoing problems of misrepresentation and stigmatisation of ADHD in the media. The guidelines are shaped by other existing guidelines for other mental health conditions as well as the opinions of people with ADHD in the UK who we canvassed at the time of writing. 

Despite all of these happy developments, there is still such a long way to go, and with every happy story comes another stigmatising headline or misrepresentative media portrayal.  So far we haven’t actually seen any real change, or even any commitment to change, from our government. We need to keep fighting.

ADHD Stories: Priscilla Eyles

Being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult helped me make sense of a chaotic life – an article by Priscilla Eyles for iNews

I only discovered by chance that I had ADHD.

After losing my passport in Thailand in spring 2016, I Googled ‘how to stop losing stuff’. It turned out to be one of the major symptoms of ADHD.

Getting my diagnosis explained a lot. ADHD explained why I could be so intelligent in conversation, and academically bright in subjects I’m interested in, but it also explained why I couldn’t hold onto my keys, or would continually get into trouble for forgetting to close the front door, or buy the milk.

It explained why I am so often running late to another appointment, interview, meeting or station, costing me my self-respect and hundreds of pounds in travel tickets.

It explained why I could be emotionally hypersensitive to any sign of rejection, overcompensating with sometimes debilitating perfectionism.

I was undiagnosed when I left the safe structures of school and university which were just about keeping me together. When I entered working life, I wasn’t prepared at all

It explained why I had such intense relationships and depressive lows – even suicidal thoughts – when they ended.

The realisation that I had it was like a jigsaw puzzle coming into place, and when I started reading more, the tears kept coming.

They were tears of relief that I wasn’t alone. They were tears of sadness for all those years wasted thinking I was a worthless, fundamentally flawed child-woman, who no matter how hard I tried couldn’t do this thing called life, couldn’t be a responsible adult and couldn’t get a steady job or partner.

Concentrating on ADHD
It was no surprise to me that according to a new report by thinktank Demos, awareness of ADHD in adults especially is poor, meaning that many people (and, I would add, especially women) go undiagnosed and untreated. This is costing the UK billions a year in wasted talent.

There are more serious implications too. According to #AttentionUK, adults with untreated ADHD are seven times more likely than their peers to have had multiple vehicle crashes, twice as likely to be fired from a job and nine times more likely to end up in prison.

40 per cent of the UK’s prison population have undiagnosed ADHD, say #AttentionUK statistics

This a huge problem when you consider that 2.5 per cent of adults are affected by the disorder and most are undiagnosed.

I was undiagnosed when I left the safe structures of school and university which were just about keeping me together. When I entered working life, I wasn’t prepared at all.

Years of unpaid work at magazines followed, as did years of working retail jobs that bored me stiff, and months of working in mundane admin jobs my creative mind couldn’t hack. It was no surprise that I was fired from two of them, and no surprise that my self-esteem was in pieces.

Mental health
I’ve accepted ADHD as part of who I am now, but it’s been very hard to get to that place.

I’m based in Camden, supposedly the ‘best’ borough in London for mental health care. I’ve been told I would have to wait three whole years to see a specialist at St Pancras Hospital, with no recourse to getting on a shorter waiting list at renowned specialist hospital The Maudsley.

I have also been dealt with by GPs who can only give me a few 30-minute sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (most of which I turned up late for, thanks to my ADHD) and can only prescribe me antidepressants for my anxiety, but can’t treat the ADHD which is inextricable from that anxiety.

I now appreciate how creative, interesting, unique, caring, non-conformist, curious and funny we ADHDers are

I’ve now gone private. It’s cost me over £550 to do so and will cost more as follow-up appointments with a psychiatrist cost £195 whilst my therapist costs £65, and that’s at the cheaper end.

I am one of the lucky ones: I have a full-time job and parents who support me, so I can afford it. But what about those who never get the support and treatment they need because they are never diagnosed? Or those who know there’s something amiss but simply can’t afford to investigate, or who instead get misdiagnosed as having borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety?

Understanding myself
Before I knew I had ADHD, I thought well, that’s just me: ‘Liability Priscilla’. It became a running joke amongst my friends that I would always be late, always leave something at a party, or that I would overreact if I wasn’t invited to something – that last one cost me a few friendships.

After the initial discovery and passing through the stages of grief that come with realising that you’ve been living with a treatable condition all those years – misunderstood and unsupported – I’ve come to the final stage of acceptance and hope.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have very self-critical moments; I cursed myself recently for forgetting to lock my bike after running late for a meeting, and it then being stolen.

But I know now why I am the way I am and can understand and manage myself better.

I also now appreciate how creative, interesting, unique, caring, non-conformist, curious and funny we ADHDers are. We’re exhilarating and refreshing to be around and there’s never a dull moment – we don’t have time for them.

Priscilla Eyles is a writer, improv comedian and charity worker for Anthony Nolan.

via Being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult helped me make sense of a chaotic life – iNews

A BPS publication questioned the validity of ADHD, but no one is paying attention.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) recently published something called a “Power Threat Meaning Framework” or #PTMFramework if you’re on Twitter. It was 411 pages long, and made various scientifically inaccurate claims that generally encourage the stigmatisation of service users who feel they have been helped by psychiatric diagnoses such as ADHD.

Although registered bodies, such as AADD-UK, immediately voiced their shock and registered serious concern about this, there has been no response from either the funders (the Division of Clinical Psychologists), or the British Psychological Society themselves. The publication of these suggestions, as well as the behaviour of a registered psychologist who took the opportunity to send AADD-UK a series of inappropriate tweets, breaches the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards of conduct, performance and ethics – which are essentially rules for how health and care professionals should behave.

AADD-UK have written an open letter to the BPS which you can read here. They restate their shock and disgust at the BPS’s publication of a Framework that makes the strong and “stigmatising suggestion that ADHD is an illusory, unprofessional, unscientific and unethical diagnosis”. They also note that “our views were not sought before publication” and that although they asked for a response, “none has been forthcoming… although a registered psychologist, supporter of the framework, did send us inappropriate tweets”.

For a body like the British Psychological Society to release a publication that features contents amounting to hate speech about people with a certain disability, and for it to remain unaddressed even now, is nothing short of a joke.

How can this be allowed to happen? How long until you Pay Attention, UK?

via Open Letter to British Psychological Society re ADHD & Stigma