ADHD is the leading cause of referrals to mental health professionals and the youth justice system; it seems to affect more boys than girls. The impact of ADHD is often experienced most intensely when children try to meet the normal demands of school life—children may not have the same difficulties at home, where the environment is different. Some students may be able to stay on task when doing a project they find enjoyable, such as an art project, but have a harder time when they have to work on something that is more difficult for them. AD/HD—where children struggle with attention problems but without hyperactivity—tends to be less noticeable to parents/caregivers and teachers, even though it may affect the children’s ability to perform at their best.
A student’s mental health is at risk if untreated attention problems leave the student feeling that he/she is “bad” and/or “lazy”, powerless to do better, and/or unable to form positive social relationships with others. This “chain of failure” can lead to depression, low self-esteem, behaviour problems, and school failure.