Postcode lottery chaos and misconceptions of mental health condition lead to delayed treatment, harming chances of education and future prospects

  • ‘When I started taking ADHD medication it was as if someone flicked a switch’

Children with ADHD are waiting up to two years for a diagnosis in the UK, harming their chances of education and prospects for the future, say experts.

ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is a recognised mental health condition. Psychological support and medication can transform children’s lives and those of their families. Yet data seen by the Guardian shows a chaotic situation, with some children being seen by children’s mental health specialists within a couple of weeks but most having to wait for months or years.

Related: Undiagnosed adult ADHD could cost UK billions a year, report finds

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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