Diagnosed with ADHD? Don’t expect support from Mind

When I tried and failed to find any useful information on Mind’s website, I contacted them about it. But they weren’t willing to change their standpoint.

 

Many of those diagnosed with ADHD as an adult have above average intelligence: they are the ones able to develop compensating mechanisms and coping strategies that have masked their symptoms for years.

Those diagnosed as adults have often struggled their whole lives. Their diagnosis only comes because they’ve reached breaking point – often from the exhaustion of spending decades attempting to cope.

It’s common for those given a late diagnosis to go through a “grief cycle” – suffering from symptoms such as anger and depression. And one of the ways of coping with this cycle is to develop an insatiable appetite for knowledge.

However, if your search for information ends up on Mind’s website, you’re about to hit a stumbling block.

Rather than sharing useful information about the condition, Mind’s website page about ADHD focuses on their opinion regarding “whether or not it should be described as a mental health problem” and compares ADHD to conditions such as dementia.

As someone searching the Internet for information on ADHD and mental health, I was shocked at Mind’s standpoint.

Surely, the mental health of the person who ends up on their website is of the utmost importance?

If those who click through to this page are – like me – looking for mental health support regarding their condition, then Mind’s political approach is failing them.

So I contacted Mind by email, explaining that I thought their current page could be harmful to those seeking help, and asked them to reconsider their approach.

Their spokesperson replied: “Mental health is a really broad topic and we want to ensure everything we do cover, we cover well, based on our knowledge and expertise, which comes from collaborating with people with first-hand experience. Unfortunately there is a limit to everything we can cover, and ADHD does not currently lie within our remit.”

But why wasn’t it within their remit? Mind’s mission statement is: “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”

Under the “What we do” section of their website, Mind state: “We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.”

What about those with ADHD? Where is their support and respect? How are they being empowered?

Mind’s spokesperson explained they didn’t cover ADHD because “Any information we wrote on ADHD would be likely to replicate other, more specialist, information provided by other organisations.”

But this argument doesn’t make sense to me for two reasons.

The first reason is one of semantics. In covering conditions such as Bipolar and Schizophrenia, Mind is already replicating information available from more specialist organisations such as Bipolar UK and Living With Schizophrenia UK.

The second reason – and the more critical one – is because there isn’t such a source of specialist information provided by any UK charities.

The two main ADHD charities in the UK – ADHD Action and the ADHD Foundation – focus on campaigning and awareness-raising: they are not rich sources of information for those who have just been diagnosed with the condition.

In fact I have gleaned the most useful information about and support for my diagnosis from two US-based websites: ADDitude Magazine and ADHD in Adults.

In one article on the ADHD in Adults website, Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Physiology Stephen V. Faraone explains that suicide risk in those with ADHD is approximately 30% higher than those without.

If you take this increased suicide risk into consideration, the biggest issue with Mind’s approach is that, while they refuse to include useful information about ADHD and mental health on their website, they could be failing the very people who need their support the most.

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