Adult ADHD Service Map History

CATCh-uS - About the project

The “Children and adolescents with ADHD in transition between children’s services and adult services”  (CATCh-uS) project was led by Tamsin Ford from the University of Exeter Medical School and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

It focused on what happens to young people with ADHD when they are too old to stay with children’s services. Astrid Janssens was the project manager, and the core research team involved Tamsin Newlove-Delgado, Helen Eke and Anna Price. Collaborators from Berkshire, London, Nottingham and Warwick supported the work, which aimed to answer three questions:

  • How many young people require transition and how many of them successfully transfer to adult services?
  • What is the experience of young adults, parents and practitioners involved in supporting young adults to transition or return to services?
  • How many services support young adults with ADHD and where are they?

Once considered to be a condition restricted to childhood, it is now understood that ADHD persists into adulthood for many young people. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) treatment guidelines have recognised the importance of providing treatments for ADHD in adults since 2008, formalising its status as a long-term condition. However, we still know little about how many areas have specialist services for adults with ADHD and how many young people need to move to them when they are too old for children’s services. Until the late 20th century, ADHD was a controversial diagnosis. Once generally accepted, it was still seen as a developmental disorder of children, and so mental health services for adults are not set up to manage young adults who have ADHD and continue to want support to cope with their lives.

This research project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Research Delivery Programme (project number 14/21/52) and its development was supported by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula. These funders had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of data, or map creation. Any views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR Public Health Research Programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health and Social Care.

CATCh-uS Mapping study

The mapping study, led by Anna Price, aimed to create a list of existing services in the UK for adults with ADHD. This was intended to provide information to people who use and provide services.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and was run in collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and ADHD support groups: including AADD-UK and the ADHD Foundation as well as the UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN).

Three different groups of people were asked about service provision in their area:

  • Young people with ADHD, their parents/carers (service users),
  • Clinicians and professionals who work with young people with ADHD (including psychiatrists, GPs, paediatricians, nurses and managers)
  • Clinical Commissioners (the people who commission and pay for services)

Information was collected on NHS, private and voluntary services. The 2018 survey gained over 2500 responses from across the UK. Information gathered was used to create a map of existing services.