A Harrogate campaigner has succeeded in launching the first-ever All Party Parliamentary Group on ADHD.
Michelle Beckett spontaneously stood up on stage at the Labour Party conference last year and delivered an impassioned speech which led to her launching the national charity ADHD action, and a parliamentary petition calling for more support - now, thanks to Michelle’s incredible determination, she has secured enough backing to establish a group to make a difference to people living with the condition.
Michelle said: “As an adult only diagnosed with ADHD last year aged 44, I know only too well the impact that failing to recognise the condition can have. ADHD nearly claimed my life through suicide. Treatment and diagnosis have been transformative.
“This is why I worked so hard to work with MPs across several parties to set up the All Party Parliamentary Group. We will now have more power to help millions of children and adults that are needlessly suffering by bringing ADHD to the attention of policy makers across health, justice, education, work and pensions, and many other departments that can contribute.”
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones joined Michelle at a special event in Westminster last week for the launch of the group.
He said: “Many will be surprised to learn the extent to which ADHD affects children and adults and the social and financial costs it has for all of us. This covers the breadth of services such as healthcare, education and homelessness. But the impact is greatest for the physical and mental health of those living with ADHD – particularly those for whom it has not been diagnosed.
“That is why I support this new All Party Parliamentary Group and congratulate Michelle on her achievement setting it up. If we can raise awareness, challenge stigma and strengthen support we can help individuals living with ADHD and change society’s attitude to, and awareness of it.”
Comedian Rory Bremner and TV voice coach Carrie Grant also attended the launch. Rory said: “It’s beyond time that ADHD was more widely understood. If we can crack this, we can relieve the torment of families struggling for support and unleash a huge wave of creative energetic talent instead. It’s that big.”
Carrie Grant said: “The All Party Parliamentary Group for ADHD’s formation is a landmark moment for those struggling to understand why they are the way they are, and for those trying to access services and being failed.
“For too many years the voices of those who don’t believe that ADHD even exists have far outweighed those who are working in the field or those children or adults who have ADHD. It’s time now for a new voice to be heard and it’s not all bad news either. A label is only a problem if you have a problem with the label.
“It’s for us as a society to educate ourselves and make sure we understand both the challenges and the advantages of having ADHD.”
To find out more about Michelle’s charity, ADHD Action, go to: http://adhdaction.org
The charity has attracted international interest, and has already partnered with the ADHD Foundation in the United States. More than 11,000 people signed Michelle’s petition calling for better ADHD support, and since the charity was set up, Michelle has received a lot of backing in Harrogate.