Vancouver’s Battle Against Adult ADHD Stigma

I received a call today regarding our post entitled “Vancouver’s Battle Against Adult ADHD Stigma” alerting me that clarification on CADDAC’s position is required.
I sincerely thank the caller for taking the time to speak to me about their concerns.

Our comment was in no way intended to be political or favour one councillor over another.

Our intention was to highlight the message that could be taken from statements made. If an employee requests assistance for their disability, especially adult ADHD, they are seen as not being capable of the job, or playing the “poor me I have a disability card”.

I hope that this is not Ms. DeGenova’s position; unfortunately it could be interpreted (or misinterpreted) in that way.  As stated in the blog, questioning the expense, or any expense, is not the issue. Our concern was that additional statements made could send the wrong message.

At this time many employees are fearful of disclosing their ADHD. They are reluctant to ask for simple accommodations in the workplace that would make them a more productive employee. They fear the stigma and being viewed as incompetent or making excuses. They worry that coworkers may resent them for receiving special treatment.

A recent Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) report, “Minds that matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions”, http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/minds-matter-report-consultation-human-rights-mental-health-and-addictions
helped to clarify the duty of employer to accommodate individuals with mental health conditions. It is however also important to note that the commission  states, “The accommodation process usually begins when someone identifies they need accommodation due to a disability-related need.”, http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/minds-matter-report-consultation-human-rights-mental-health-and-addictions/10-duty-accommodate, and that it is the responsibility of the person with the disability is to ”inform their employers of their needs”, http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/disability-workplace-roles-and-responsibilities-fact-sheet.

Hopefully this report is a first step in helping to clarify everyone’s role in assisting those with a disability in the workplace, but we still have a long way to go. If comments, unfortunate or misinterpreted as they may be are left unchallenged it furthers the stigma or the disorder.

Heidi Bernhardt,
President

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