One of the things I’ve heard the most over the past decade of working in the ADHD field is that it’s extremely difficult to find good information, support, and resources especially in regard to adult ADHD.
I’m sharing a post-event report with you of our recent DOC Institute screening of A Mind Like Mine – An Intimate Portrait of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the hopes that you’ll consider hosting an event like this in your own community.
This free event in Toronto, Ontario consisted of a documentary screening followed by a panel discussion moderated by yours truly. The film covers an amazing amount of ground on adult ADHD while being a gripping drama that takes you on an emotional roller coaster – just like ADHD itself.
Filmmaker Karen O’Donnell and I hand-picked the panelists from amongst experts with whom we are personally familiar. The breadth and depth of expertise and experience represented by the panel was, in my opinion, unparalleled with the exception of that which you might find at an ADHD conference.
But not everyone can afford to attend ADHD conferences. Our event was free and open to the public. It was a great opportunity for the public in general to learn about adult ADHD and for those with specific concerns to have their questions answered and to find the resources they need to continue on their journey.
Even though we only had about 45 min. for the Q&A, we covered most of the major topics associated with ADHD. These topics included:
- ADHD and post-secondary education (the main subject of the film)
- women and ADHD
- ADHD in the workplace
- alternative treatments for an audience member mom’s seven-year-old son with ADHD
- ADHD and co-existing disorders
- assistive technologies used to help those with ADHD and learning disabilities (L.D.s)
- where to get an ADHD diagnosis for children and adults
Because the venue was small, our event felt intimate and had a warm, supportive atmosphere. As support groups are few and far between, I also felt this contributed to the success of the event and the level of personal sharing and disclosure that took place.
So, if you want to:
- share current information about ADHD
- help de-stigmatize ADHD and bust stereotypes
- connect adults with ADHD to each other and local resources (my ADHD coach Mark Jones of Anchored Awareness was in attendance; as was popular ADHD blogger Simon Peacock, amongst others)
- provide free access to your community’s experts
- enjoy a great documentary filled with tons of facts about ADHD, interviews with a wide variety of ADHD experts, and a gripping drama focusing on two highly engaging young adults with ADHD and L.D.s
here are some tips to put together an evening like ours.
1 ) Find a local organization to sponsor the event (or do it yourself). Some options are:
- documentary film organizations
- mental health facilities
- ADHD clinics
- local hospital’s mental health department
- local ADHD support group
- learning disabilities organizations
- local church or social services facilities
- university or colleges’ Accessibility Services or Students with Disabilities Department (they are variously named, depending on the institution)
- addictions and substance abuse treatment facilities
- women’s institutes
2 ) Purchase the film from the filmmaker (contact her via her website, Wordshop Productions Inc.) The DVD is $20 (Cdn) or $35 (Cdn) for A Mind Like Mine plus her earlier film, Odd Kid Out, a precursor to AMLM that presents the main characters as children struggling with ADHD and L.D.s. It’s possible that a sponsor will cover the cost of the film for you. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Make sure you have others helping you in creating this event so you can delegate the tasks.
3 ) Look for community partners and sponsors to fund equipment (microphones, tables, venue, etc.) and refreshments and to help with outreach and promotion.
4 ) Create a list of potential panelists. Invite 3 or 4 to be part of the post-screening panel. Make sure you include experts with different areas of expertise. For example, our panel included:
- the filmmaker
- the supervising psychologist at the Accessibility Services department, University of Toronto
- an adult who specializes in workplace issues for those with ADHD / L.D.s and who has them himself
- an adult psychiatrist specializing in ADHD
- a clinical psychologist and assistive technologies specialist
5 ) Create a Facebook event page, press release, e-mail invites, and poster to distribute to help publicize the film.
6 ) Put together a media and outreach list. Local media outlets often have online forms where you can list your event for free. Journalists interested in health, mental health, and lifestyle as well as general news editors should be contacted.
Include in your outreach list local ADHD clinics, post-secondary education facilities (student disabilities services departments), mental health and addiction treatment facilities, ADHD support groups, individual therapists and clinicians working with those with ADHD, local school boards, etc.
Make sure you have others helping you in creating this event so you can delegate the tasks and capitalize on others’ expertise. For example, the person with the best graphic design skills can create a pdf format poster to distribute to organizations; your writer friend can write the press release, etc. Find volunteers to help set up and tear down on the night of the event.
These ideas should get you started. Set your goals and get going! This film is worth sharing, your community and those affected by ADHD will thank you, and you might learn something about ADHD you didn’t already know yourself.
Let us know if you plan to host an event and if you do, how it went.
BONUS: To listen to an interview that filmmaker Karen O’Donnell did prior to our event, visit the Strange Brains archive, Thursday May 22, 2014.