The results of an investigation of suicidal behaviours and self-harm in adults with ADHD in Ireland
Ground-breaking new research on the link between Adult ADHD and Suicide led by Professor Jessica Bramham, UCD School of Psychology was delivered by Dr Margo Wrigley at the spring conference of the Irish College of Psychiatry. The research was funded by NOSP (National Office of Suicide Prevention) and conducted in partnership with UCD, the HSE and ADHD Ireland.
Headline results from this survey show that:
20% of all adults with ADHD have attempted suicide in their lifetime
50% of all adults with ADHD have self-harmed in the past
10% consider suicide an option for the future
Please, click on the link to access full report of the survey -> ADHD-NOSP-Survey Results April-2022
The results are in line with international studies which have shown that adults with ADHD have elevated levels of suicidal behaviours (see notes to editors).
On foot of the immensely concerning figures the following three key initiatives are recommended as imperative:
1. Increased capacity in Adult ADHD Specialist Services as part of the National Clinical Programme Model of Care
2. Training for primary care, secondary care and tertiary level staff, including in Emergency Departments
3. Voluntary sector (ADHD-Ireland) interventions for those who are not receiving formal services – Understanding and Managing Adult ADHD Programme (UMAAP)
ADHD Ireland would expressly like to inform parents of children with ADHD that is important to recognise that 90% of respondents to this survey were first diagnosed as adults, so their ADHD was never picked up as children. It is therefore possible that undiagnosed ADHD leads to these more negative outcomes. More and more children are now getting assessment and treatment from an earlier age and the stigma around the condition is reducing, so we hope to see the figures in this survey reduce over time.
“It has been shown in other countries that there are elevated levels of self-harm and suicidal behaviours in adult ADHD but we were shocked by the rates in Ireland. It is also very concerning
that these results may represent the tip of the iceberg, with many more individuals undiagnosed and not linked with any services”.
Prof Jessica Bramham Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology UCD School of Psychology
“This study is an added impetus to implement the HSE Adult ADHD National Clinical Programme. Minister Butler has provided funding for an additional 4 teams this year. When in place and together with the existing 3 teams, half the adult population will have access to an ADHD specific public mental health service. Significant progress but there is much more to do”.
Dr Margo Wrigley National Clinical Lead for HSE National Clinical Programme for ADHD in Adults.
“We would like to thank NOSP (National Office of Suicide Prevention) for funding this research. While this research was delivered in partnership with UCD and the HSE, it highlights the experience ADHD Ireland has seen and heard about on the ground for years. Having this research while difficult reading, we hope it will shine a spotlight on this and lead to better outcomes for those with the condition in the future.”
Ken Kilbride CEO ADHD Ireland
ADHD Ireland 12/04/22