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Mental health and autism

Those of us with autism are more likely to experience mental health problems than the general population. This can be because there are fewer resources and support to help develop coping skills. Also, we can experience more negative life events, face stigma and discrimination from people and services. It’s really important that services are able to properly identify mental health problems, so people can get the right support at the right time.

Are you in need of support?

To find support in your area, call or email our InfoLine or contact your local Mind.
Ambitious About Autism have information about making the most out of your visit to a psychiatrist. National Autistic Society have a directory of support for people with autism and mental health problems.
Counselling Directory can help you find a therapist with experience working with people with autism. These counsellors would be paid for.
Please see our page on finding a therapist to consider which option is right for you.

"I have experienced services that treat mental health and autism as completely separate issues and both services seem fearful of people with the other condition."

Guidance for professionals

In 2015 we completed a two-year research project with local Minds in Aberystwyth, Leeds and Plymouth highlighting that those of us with autism are particularly vulnerable to developing mental health problems. We found that existing services tend to treat people either for their autism or for their mental health problems, while failing to recognise the complex dynamic between the two.

With few mental health services providing specialist support for adults with autism in the UK, there is a great need to develop mental health services able to help people in an appropriate and respectful way. This is why we developed practical guidance for health and social care professionals, in partnership with local Minds and other organisations, to make sure that those of us on the autism spectrum get genuine person-centred support.

Download our guidance

Lucy's story

 

In this video Lucy talks about living with a mental health problem and autism.

Lucy says she wants support that sees her "as a whole person and not just as a collection of diagnoses."

Got a question?

Have a question that is not answered here or would like to find out more about something? Get in touch with our Equality Improvement team at [email protected]. You can also find out more about our equality and human rights work.

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