A representative from the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada (CADDAC) says the Maritime provinces are lagging behind in resources for the condition.
That’s why, said representative Russ Le Blanc, it was important for the 10th annual CADDAC conference to be held in Halifax this year.
CADDAC is a national non-profit aiming to raise awareness about ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
“The big reason is that there really isn’t a lot when it comes to resources for ADHD in Nova Scotia or the Maritimes in general,” explained Le Blanc, who grew up in Yarmouth. “In the rural areas, they’re really struggling. It’s bad enough in Halifax.”
The conference was held at Saint Mary’s University on Oct. 27 and 28. Le Blanc highlighted the event as a milestone for ADHD awareness in the region.
“It was major,” he said. “We would have liked to have had a little more, but the attendees were very appreciative.”
The condition is one that affects a person’s attention span and self-control and can spiral to impact every facet of life.
Le Blanc said he hopes the conference continues to serve to jump start the conversation around the condition.
“I hope this is a catalyst for awareness and making changes in the province,” said Le Blanc, who was himself diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 49.
The conference included discussion panels and keynote speeches exploring life with ADHD.
For Le Blanc, the answer to improving life for people living with the condition in the province is simple: more mental health-care professionals.
It is, he said, important to continue a dialogue and keep the condition in the public eye despite the stigma.
“My big fear is that when the conference is over, you have all these people with information, but they’re left stranded. It’s kind of like ADHD; all or nothing. That can be a challenge,” said Le Blanc.
“We still have to fight a stigma.”
One misunderstanding about ADHD is that people assume ADHD is a condition that only affects children.
Not so, said Le Blanc.
“The story is that the kids grow older and turn into adults with ADHD,” he explained, adding that children rarely outgrow the condition.
“It’s a problem because what little perception there is out there, is focused toward kids.”
But to raise awareness, the conference highlighted CADDAC’s latest campaign, ADHD Speaks.
Le Blanc said the campaign would be ongoing for 16 months and is asking people affected by ADHD to share their stories any way possible.
The goal is to compile the entries as a sort of testimonial to convey the impact of the condition.
“We want to get as many people to do this as possible,” said Le Blanc.
The conference, he said, is just the first step for changing ADHD care in Nova Scotia.
For more information about ADHD Speaks, visit caddac.ca.