Letter to the Editor

Writing a Letter to the Editor

Writing a letter to your paper’s editor expressing your thoughts about an ADHD topic is hugely helpful in our advocacy efforts. Only by dispelling myths, offering scientifically correct, up-to-date, information and having those who are impacted by ADHD setting the record straight, will the myths and sigma decrease. CADDAC needs families and individuals with an interest in ADHD to speak up in order to be heard. We cannot do it without your help!

Feel free to use these templates to start a letter to your local Newspaper.  Simply copy/paste the text that you wish to use into your own document, but please remember that letters to your local newspaper have a good chance of being published if they are well written, to the point and address an issue that affects your community. Of course, including your own experiences and thoughts is also very important. For reasons of space, even brief letters may be edited for length, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get as much space as you hoped for. If your letter is published, could you please e-mail a copy to heidi.bernhardt@caddac.ca.

Template Letters to the Editor

This sample letter to the editor is too long, but offers a variety of points you may choose from.

Dear Editor:

Our family struggles on a daily basis to access treatments and resources for a disorder that impacts the lives of not only my son and husband, who have the disorder, but the entire family. The impairments that this disorder causes impacts almost all facets of their lives. This includes not only work and school, but basic things like remembering schedules, juggling more than one task at a time, communicating with friends and family, and completing routine normal every day demands and errands. The disorder that has created such havoc in our lives is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. You may think that ADHD is an insignificant disorder of hyperactive boys, but nothing can be farther from the truth. ADHD has impacted our employment, our finances, our health both physical and mental, and our entire family’s well-being. Although ADHD is one of the most common mental health conditions it continues to be misunderstood and treated as “not a big deal”. Even worse those with the disorder are treated as malingerers, or trouble makers, rather than someone with a legitimate medical condition. Although every parent that I know faced with the decision of whether to use medication for their child’s treatment agonizes hard and long about the pros and cons, of this option, the media and indeed many members of the uninformed public feel they have the right to second guess and judge our decisions. Furthermore, the majority of recommended treatments, other than medication, are difficult to access and unaffordable to most people since they are not covered under provincial health care plans. Accessing a psychologist at $200 is just not possible. These are some of the concerns of our family, and although of paramount concern to us, perhaps what the government should be even more concerned about are the real economic costs to the Canadian Government and our society of not treating this disorder. ADHD increases health and educational costs, costs to social assistance and our justice system. Untreated ADHD decreases productivity, increases lost workdays, increases school drop and limits the completion of post-secondary education.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~your signature~
~~~

Here are some additional points that you can use in your letter:

SUMMARY OF SOCIOECONOMIC ISSUES AND COSTS

ADHD is not the “insignificant” disorder some imagine it to be.

  • The “cost of illness” associated with ADHD across all ages in the US is estimated to be over $74 billion (using conservative incidence rates estimates), a potential Canadian cost of over 7 billion

  • Canada loses an estimated $6 billion to $11 billion annually through loss of workplace productivity

  • Workers with ADHD are more likely to enter the workforce as unskilled or semiskilled.

Health Care

  • Immediate costs of increased general medical expenses, accidents and emergency room visits

  • Long-term costs of higher rates of mental health illness, substance use and abuse including alcohol and cigarettes, increased driving accidents, earlier and riskier sexual activity, increased medical costs to family members

  • Diagnostic and proven treatment options can be difficult to access and be cost prohibitive.

Education

  • Students with ADHD are at a higher risk for lower academic achievement, grade retention, special education, disciplinary referrals and dropping out of high school

  • Medication treatment alone has NOT shown substantial long term academic improvement

  • There is a lack of educator education on ADHD and official recognition that ADHD impedes learning.

Justice and Corrections

  • Incidence rates of criminal activity are far greater for those with ADHD; offending begins earlier and there are higher rates of recidivism

  • Treatment has been shown to reduce criminal activity

  • There are no existing guidelines on screening and treating ADHD in the system.

Social Services

  • Those with ADHD have greater period of unemployment and are more dependent on social welfare

  • Guidelines for screening of ADHD, or knowledge within the employment and social assistance services, do not exist.

Official recognition of ADHD as an illness of significant cost to our provincial
and federal governments and their Ministries is essential.