'I got nothing but support': councillor opens up about ADHD

Jenny Mulholland

Jenny Mulholland - Credit: Jenny Mulholland

A Camden councillor says she received nothing but support after sharing on Twitter her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis.

Gospel Oak councillor Jenny Mulholland, 36, said sharing her diagnosis has opened up conversations around how the people in the community navigate their own mental health.

“I think it’s something people ought to talk about,” said the Labour councillor. “I’ve talked before about issues around depression and I got nothing but support.

“I probably don’t have many people who follow my every tweet, but if there is anyone out there who has seen me talk about depression and then ADHD, it might make them think about their own mental health.”

Data from NHS Digital suggests around one in 200 people registered with a GP in London experience ADHD.

Cllr Mulholland said sharing a diagnosis is not a decision everyone makes, but she hopes it will put her in a better position to support others who are feeling overwhelmed and overworked in Camden.

“Showing vulnerability in some way is one of the most powerful communication tools I’ve come across as a councillor in terms of building trust with people,” she said.

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“The formality of council meetings – that’s not where you can really help somebody.

“It’s talking about the things that you find difficult and then other people feel comfortable to open up to you about those things, and then you can help them.

“It’s all about connection.”

Cllr Mulholland said she spent two and a half years on an NHS waiting list before receiving her diagnosis from Psychiatry UK.

She said NHS staff work flat out in an over-stretched health system, but this means communication can break down between those on waiting lists and the mental health system.

A spokesperson for the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health care, said people who might be struggling with ADHD can contact their GP in the first instance.

“We continue to work with our partners to improve waiting times for a timely diagnosis," they said.