The information superhighway will soon become a pathway for those living with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) to connect, network and seek answers – reducing the isolation many families coping with the condition often feel.
Illawarra-based IMB Bank this month put $32,000 towards a new project which will expand a one-stop website for ADHD families across Australia.
ADHD ‘We Have The Answers’ is a collaborative project between ADHD Australia, Westmead Hospital’s Centre for Research into Adolescent’s Health (CRASH) and the Westmead Medical Research Foundation.
CEO of ADHD Australia, Len Russell, spoke on behalf of these bodies during the ceremony in which the grant money was officially awarded to the project.
It was the first time since IMB Community Fundraising began in 1999 that a third party was invited to present at such a function.
The reason for this was Mr Russell’s compelling case for the funding to help build a modern, functional and accessible website for the ADHD community.
“Potentially this project will reach the 1.2 million Australians thought to have ADHD, and communities and government and professional services from whom they have support,” Mr Russell said.
“In the first year of development it is anticipated this project will reach 50,000 Australians.”
ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder, affecting between five and 10 per cent of the population.
“ADHD impacts on social relationships, work, and education, particularly for young Australians,” said Joe Conneely, Head of Development at the Westmead Medical Research Foundation.
“The online world is now the first point of call for young people with ADHD and their families.”
The project will facilitate access to helpful information and assist in accessing services and evidence-based information online for young people, and families affected by ADHD.
It will launch from existing platforms created by the national peak body in ADHD, ADHD Australia.
“Currently there is no focal point for the most helpful information and many sites contain misinformation,” Mr Russell said.
“Similarly there is currently no professionally supported social media forum.
“This project will provide support to develop both initiatives, through collaboration between the Centre for Research into Adolescent’s Health (CRASH) at Westmead Hospital and ADHD Australia,” he said.
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a complex, lifelong, neurobiological condition affecting around 298,000 children and adolescents in Australia, aged four to 17.
Symptoms include inattention, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties.
Boys are four times more likely to have ADHD.
Early diagnosis and management offers a better long-term outcome, while education, skilling to assist development, medication and family support all contribute to better individual outcomes.
The project will enable the formation of an advisory group of professional and representatives around ADHD and enable the design and population of website information.
The project will also create evidence-based information to support responses to frequently asked questions.
“ADHD Australia receives one email every day from someone in Australia looking for specific clinical answers to their questions,” Mr Russell said.
“This project will result in a lasting community asset.
“There is an ongoing commitment from CRASH and ADHD Australia to continue to contribute resources to enable the ongoing function of the project.
“The involvement of the broader community and other organisations will provide the intellectual and financial support to make this project sustainable.”
The project will also serve as an instrument for advocacy for those with this stigmatised mental health condition.
The collective views captured on the two platforms within the project will better inform policy makers and public health officials as to the breadth and depth of the needs of the ADHD community.
Specifically, the project will provide more easily accessible education materials and general information, for individuals and families, on ADHD diagnosis, treatment, as well as approaches and resources to improve access to care and quality of life for those living with ADHD.
It will be a reliable and evidence-based resource to answer questions about ADHD and a forum to identify and address social inequality, as well as subjective bias and misinformation about ADHD.
The website will be a national resource, which will also be used to develop and conduct awareness campaigns including an annual ADHD Awareness Week.