Celebrity pair tackle ADHD issues

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BT Convention Centre, Liverpool Pic  © UK Payphone Directory / Wikimedia/ Creative Commons

BT Convention Centre, Liverpool
Pic © UK Payphone Directory / Wikimedia/ Creative Commons

Comedian Rory Bremner and the Falklands War veteran Simon Weston were in Liverpool this week to highlight the increasing need for mental health support for children and young people suffering from ADHD.

The ADHD Foundation’s annual two-day conference, entitled ‘Early Interventions and Transitions’, was held at the BT Convention Centre on the city’s waterfront with Bremner and Weston, who are both patrons of the charity, among 24 other speakers.

Bremner, who is also a noted impressionist, explained how Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has affected his own life, having only recently been diagnosed with the condition.

He said: “It’s been a blessing for my career in many ways – for example, it means I am able to spot analogies and to think laterally in a comedic sense – however, it’s no laughing matter for many children and adults living with the condition who simply don’t have the professional help needed to learn how best to deal with their symptoms.”

Dr Simon Bowers, a GP and vice clinical chair of the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, has called for more investment so that parents can get a definitive diagnosis of ADHD – a condition found in half a million school children – quicker. He said that parents are currently waiting up to twelve months for a diagnosis.

Dr Bowers told the Liverpool Echo: “All the evidence is that the earlier the diagnosis, the less chance there is of negative outcomes – in education, or the ability to work, entering the criminal justice system.”

Weston, who has an OBE, is well known throughout the UK for his recovery and charity work after suffering severe burns during the Falklands War. He said that although he has never lived with ADHD some of “some of the difficulties faced by children and adolescents with the condition make a lot of sense to me”.

He added: “Being young is difficult enough as it is, without being judged and dismissed as so many youngsters living with ADHD are.

“This is why in the UK we need to be offering the training and support, offered by organisations like the ADHD Foundation, which is so crucially needed by these young people so they can get from where they are to where they should be.”

About Georgie Whitworth, JMU Journalism