Letters to Ministers

Send a letter to a minister who should be interested in ADHD because it impacts their Ministry

If you would like to write to your Provincial or Federal Ministers, please feel free to use these templates to start your letter and make whatever changes necessary to reflect your own situation. There are also additional points below the templates that you can use to change, or expand on, or content of the letters. Please remember that these are only templates. The more personal experiences and thoughts you can include the more impactful you letter will be.

Template Letters – to Provincial and Federal Ministers

A sample letter to Ministries of Health

Date

Name of the Minister of Health, The Honourable…
LegislatureCity, Province

The Honourable…,

Re: ADHD

I am writing to express our family’s opinion that more attention should be focused on the mental health disorder of ADHD by your Ministry. ADHD is an illness of the nervous system and the most common mental health disorder diagnosed in children, yet it is almost never included in discussions about mental health. It is estimated that at least five per cent of Canadian children and four per cent of adults are living with ADHD, including my daughter.

We are very aware of the difference the right treatment plan has made in my daughter’s life and our family’s well-being. Before our daughter was diagnosed and appropriately treated she was unable to pay attention long enough to learn and her impulsivity resulted in several suspensions. Our daughter, a bright and engaging young lady, is now having success at school for the first time, is able to join in after school activities and is beginning to make new friends. She is considering post-secondary schools and an actual career for the first time in her life.

As a family, we are very concerned that other children may not be able to access a physician who specializes in ADHD without a serious time delay or at all. It took us almost a year to find and then see this doctor with some knowledge in this area. By that time our daughter was in major distress with symptoms of anxiety and depression and failing school. In addition many families will not be able to take advantage of all of the appropriate treatments that have made such a difference in her life, because all treatments other than medication are not covered by the provincial health care plan. We are fortunate to be able to afford the full range of recommended treatments, but most families would not.

My family strongly urges you to become informed about this common mental health disorder, the lack of available services and the costs to many of our Canadian families as well as our health care and economy when ADHD is undertreated. If you would like further information or to speak to with me, please feel free to call me at 416-555-5555.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~your signature~
~~~

Additional Points That You Can Use in Your letter
Why Ministries of Health Should Pay Attention to ADHD:

  • ADHD’s “cost of illness” across all ages (using conservative incidence rates) are estimated to be over CAD$7 billion. This is higher than the costs associated with clinical depression.

  • ADHD leads to increased risk of accidents and emergency room visits.

  • ADHD leads to higher rates of associated disabling mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, as well as increased rates of substance abuse.

  • Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are up to three times more likely than other children to use, abuse, or become dependent on substances such as nicotine, cocaine and marijuana. ADHD is linked to alcohol abuse in later life.

  • Adolescents and young adults with a history of ADHD as children are at higher risk of having driving-related problems (e.g. accidents and tickets).

  • ADHD increases the use of health services by family members, as well as for the individual with ADHD.

  • The costs involved in receiving an ADHD diagnosis and the cost of many proven non-medication treatments for ADHD are often not covered by provincial healthcare programs, making access prohibitive for many. This results in a two tier system of health care for ADHD.

  • Access to timely and comprehensive assessments and treatments for all age groups is essential to decreasing the societal and economic impact of ADHD.

A sample letter to Ministries of Education

Date

Name of the Minister of Education, The Honourable…
LegislatureCity, Province

The Honourable…,

Re: Access to Equal Education for those with ADHD

Each year, we are anxious and frightened as to how we will try to navigate through an education system that doesn’t recognize my child’s ADHD as a disorder – a neurological disorder that is medically-recognized and that requires treatment.

And each year, we are frustrated at the stigma associated with a chronic lack of awareness of ADHD, as well as a lack of support and resources for a disorder that affects thousands of children.

Our Ministry of Education, as well as school communities, needs to know that ADHD is not a behavioural issue, that it can’t be “cured” by changing diet, that it’s not a result of poor parenting, that the kids who suffer from it aren’t bad kids, and that I am not unnecessarily “drugging” my child.

They also need to know it’s a genuine medical condition, that many kids with ADHD are very bright, that it affects up to nine per cent of Canadian school children, and that it’s stressful for parents and hard to deal with for kids. They need to know that children and adolescents with untreated ADHD are at greater risk for things like dropping out of high school, fewer years of education, poor self-esteem, and additional mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

Our experience has been that very few educators, even special education teachers are truly knowledgeable about this disorder and its impact on learning. Even when they are, school board administrative rules often make it impossible to implement appropriate accommodations.

Most importantly, school boards and your Ministry need to act. The Ministry of Education needs to give these kids a helping hand by officially recognizing their disorder, allowing it to qualify them as exceptional learners and providing the support and resources they need. Educators in our province need formal training on the right strategies and accommodations to implement in the classroom and the help to do so. It is the right of all children to be able to access education in a way that will allow them to succeed and reach their full potential.

My family strongly urges you to take action and allow these kids the quality education they deserve as proud Canadians. If you would like further information or to speak with me, please feel free to call me at 416-555-5555.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~your signature~
~~~

Additional Points That You Can Use in Your letter
Why Your Ministry Should Pay Attention to ADHD:

  • Students with ADHD are at higher risk for lower levels of academic achievement, higher rates of disciplinary referrals, grade repetition, placement in special education, and spending more years in special education.

  • Students with ADHD are 2.7 times more likely than those without ADHD to drop out of school before graduation.

  • Although some educators incorrectly believe medication will treat all ADHD impairments, research shows that medication treatment alone does not improve many of the skills required to be academically and socially successful.

  • While most classroom interventions focus on decreasing disruptive behavior and increasing on-task behaviour, thesechanges do not result in better learning and academic outcomes.

  • It is inattention during the elementary years that predicts long-term academic impairment.

  • For better learning and academic outcomes to happen, specific interventions targeting learning deficits and accommodating and improving cognitive difficulties need to be implemented.

A sample letter to Ministries Concerning Children and Youth

Date

NameMinister of …. The Honourable …
LegislatureCity, Province

The Honourable…,

I am writing to inform you about an issue that is very important to our entire family. For far too long ADHD has not been taken seriously as a mental health disorder that has great individual, family and societal impact. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common, yet very impairing life-long disorder, which increases costs to social services, and impedes the attainment of human and social capital, resulting in increased socioeconomic costs for Canada. These costs are further fuelled by the continued under-diagnosis and under-treatment of ADHD. According to a review of ADHD research papers a shocking 90% of adults remain untreated despite the far-reaching impact of ADHD on an individual’s job performance and levels of education. I am including some facts below for your information. To our family many of these statements are more than statistics, they reflect our reality. As Canadians we feel that both the federal and provincial ministries have paid too little attention to ADHD. With the current focus on mental health is it more imperative than ever that Ministries such as yours inform yourselves about ADHD and the costs to individuals, their families and all Canadians when this disorder is not adequately assessed, diagnosed and treated.

My family strongly urges your Ministry to become informed about this significant disorder.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~your signature~
~~~

Additional Points That You Can Use in Your letter
Why Your Ministry Concerned With Children and Youth Should Pay Attention to ADHD:

  • Being a genetic disorder, ADHD most often affects more than one family member and significantly impacts the entire family

  • ADHD leads to higher rates of associated disabling mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, as well as increased rates of substance abuse.

  • Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are up to three times more likely than other children to use, abuse, or become dependent on substances such as nicotine, cocaine and marijuana. ADHD is linked to alcohol abuse in later life.

  • ADHD increases the use of health services by family members, as well as for the individual with ADHD.

  • Students with ADHD are at higher risk for lower levels of academic achievement, higher rates of disciplinary referrals, grade repetition, placement in special education, and spending more years in special education.

  • Students with ADHD are 2.7 times more likely to drop out of school before graduation than those without ADHD.

  • Individuals with ADHD have greater periods of unemployment; are more likely to be dismissed; change jobs more frequently; and earn considerable less money over their lifetime.

  • People with ADHD have a higher than average dependency on social welfare, and subsequently contribute fewer dollars in taxes.

  • Incidence rates of ADHD are far greater in the offender population than in the general public.

A sample letter to Ministries Concerning Labour and Social Services

Date

NameMinister of ….The Honourable…
LegislatureCity, Province

The Honourable…,

I am writing to inform you about an issue that is very important to our entire family. For far too long ADHD has not been taken seriously as a mental health disorder that has great individual, family and societal impact. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common, yet very impairing life-long disorder, which increases costs to social services, and impedes the attainment of human and social capital, resulting in increased socioeconomic costs for Canada. These costs are further fuelled by the continued under-diagnosis and under-treatment of ADHD. According to a review of ADHD research papers a shocking 90% of adults remain untreated despite the far-reaching impact of ADHD on an individual’s job performance and levels of education. I am including the facts below for your information. To our family many of these statements are more than statistics, they reflect our reality. As Canadians we feel that both the federal and provincial ministries have paid too little attention to ADHD. With the current focus on mental health is it more imperative than ever that Ministries such as yours inform yourselves about ADHD and the costs to individuals, their families and all Canadians when this disorder is not adequately assessed, diagnosed and treated.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~your signature~
~~~

Additional Points That You Can Use in Your letter
Why Your Ministry Should Pay Attention to ADHD:

  • Individuals with ADHD are more likely to enter the workforce at the unskilled or semi-skilled level.

  • They have greater periods of unemployment; are more likely to be dismissed; change jobs more frequently; and earn considerable less money over their lifetime.

  • They have a higher than average dependency on social welfare, and subsequently contribute fewer dollars in taxes.

  • The economic and social costs associated with the increased high-school dropout rates are staggering (estimated at approximately US$399,000 across a lifetime).

  • ADHD symptoms can lead to poor job performance and higher numbers of days absent compared to peers without ADHD, and result in lower occupational status and less job satisfaction.

  • A 2013 study recommends placing increased focus on the earlier diagnosis of adolescent ADHD because it is such a strong predictor of mental and physical health problems, workplace impairment and financial issues.

  • Currently no ADHD screening for those on social assistance exists.

  • Currently not all postsecondary institutions, and very few employers, offer appropriate accommodations that could assist adults with ADHD reach their potential.

A sample letter to Ministries Concerning Justice

Date

NameMinister of ….The Honourable…
LegislatureCity, Province

The Honourable…,

I am writing to inform you about an issue that is very important to our entire family. For far too long ADHD has not been taken seriously as a mental health disorder that has great individual, family and societal impact. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common, yet very impairing life-long disorder, which increases costs to social services, and impedes the attainment of human and social capital, resulting in increased socioeconomic costs for Canada. These costs are further fuelled by the continued under-diagnosis and under-treatment of ADHD. According to a review of ADHD research papers a shocking 90% of adults remain untreated despite the far-reaching impact of ADHD on an individual’s job performance and levels of education. In fact, the impairing effects of ADHD directly impact costs to the justice system. Incidence rates of ADHD are far greater in the offender population than in the general public. There are no existing Canadian guidelines on screening for ADHD within the justice system, even though treating the disorder can reduce costs in many areas of the justice system. Here are some facts about ADHD and your Ministry that you should be interested in.

  • Two-thirds of young offenders and half of adults in prisons show positive results when screened for childhood ADHD.

  • People with ADHD symptoms begin offending approximately 2.5 years earlier, and have a higher rate of recidivism.

  • Recent research found that criminality rates were significantly lower during times when those with the disorder were receiving ADHD medication.

  • Treating individuals with ADHD who are currently incarcerated reduces their ADHD symptoms of impulsivity, mood regulation and low frustration tolerance. Left untreated, these symptoms result in increased rates of aggression in prisons and reduce the likelihood of early release.

  • Untreated ADHD makes it more difficult for inmates to take advantage of rehabilitation programs.

  • Untreated ADHD may contribute to the continuation of any co-existing mental health disorders, resulting in additional problems within prisons.

  • If prisoners are diagnosed with ADHD in prison and prescribed treatment, many cannot access a physician to continue their care on release, nor can they afford the treatment obtained within the prison system.

  • Implementing intervention programs that reduce the likelihood of individuals with ADHD becoming involved in criminal activity could turn short-term costs into long-term gains.

  • Screening and treating those already involved in the justice system can reduce additional costs for recidivism and incarceration.

  • Building awareness of the effect of ADHD on the offender population in the entire criminal and justice workforce, and training them on how to intercede, will help to maximize the success of rehabilitation and reduce recidivism.

To our family many of these statements are more than statistics, they reflect our current reality and what we fear may be the outcome for our nephew who has not been able to receive the medical care that he requires for his ADHD and addictions. As Canadians we feel that both the federal and provincial ministries have paid too little attention to ADHD. With the current focus on mental health is it more imperative than ever that Ministries such as yours inform yourselves about ADHD and the costs to individuals, their families and all Canadians when this disorder is not adequately assessed, diagnosed and treated.

Sincerely,

~your signature~
~~~