ADHD research, policy development and professional training in Australia is set to receive funding to the tune of $1.5 million from the Federal Government.
The announcement was made by Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health and Sport at the opening of the Second Annual Conference of the Australian ADHD Professionals Association (AADPA) held in Sydney on Saturday 28th July.
The funds, to be spread over three years, will enable AADPA, the leading professional body for ADHD in Australia, to help formalize agreed best practices for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD nationally, and to identify key research and public policy priorities.
“ADHD is immensely important,” says Greg Hunt, MP. “Up to 7% of Australian children have ADHD. It can affect their families, their communities, but most importantly, it can affect their learning capabilities and their own relations, their own sense of mental health. It can also lead to issues throughout life. This funding is provided to AADPA to assist their work, their research, and the ability to provide better treatment.”
According to Professor Mark Bellgrove, AADPA President, “there is a real need at present for high-quality data on ADHD in Australia including its inter-relationships with other mental health problems, and its impact on society.’ ‘Moreover, there are differences in diagnosis and treatment practices across Australia. A unified approach is urgently needed. This funding will provide clear guidance for all health professionals and Australian families dealing with ADHD.”
Professor David Coghill, AADPA Board member said: “ADHD is a lifelong condition affecting 1.2 million Australians. For too long its diagnosis has been marred by negative attention that has failed to recognise the very serious lifetime outcomes for children, adolescents and adults living with ADHD. Early diagnosis and good treatment improves individual outcomes significantly and reduces the social and financial burden on society.”
ADHD IN AUSTRALIA
- ADHD is the most prevalent mental health disorder of childhood affecting ~7% of school-aged children worldwide and persisting into adulthood for around 60% of individuals.
- The estimated annual cost of treatment and increased educational support in school-aged children in Australia is ~$200 million.
- This figure does not take into account future economic loss due to disability from increased mental disorders, substance abuse, criminality, increased rates of unemployment and premature mortality.
- ADHD rarely exists alone – there are much higher rates of other mental health problems including anxiety, depression and trauma-related problems in this population.
- Up to 50% of children with ADHD have co-existing Learning Disabilities.
- Effective treatment can result in significant improvement and functioning for people with ADHD.