‘Too complicated to treat’? Autistic people seeking mental health support in Scotland
AMASE published a report on November 7th 2018, highlighting major issues with mental health provision in Scotland, with over a quarter of survey respondents saying they were directly denied services because of their autism diagnosis, and many more saying practitioners failed to recognise serious distress.
While autism is not a mental illness, rates of mental ill health and suicide are exceptionally high in the autistic population. There is an urgent need for practitioners to understand and deal with the barriers autistic people face in accessing mental health support. In addition to the recommendations in the report, we have produced a short guide to supporting autistic people with their mental health and Sonny has since produced an Autistic Mental Health site with fellow AMASE member Colin.
Introduction to the report by Sonny Hallett, Chair of AMASE and lead author of the report. Video transcript available here.
Key results from AMASE’s survey of autistic adults in Scotland
Sonny Hallett, Chair of AMASE, said: “The NHS and Scottish Government are duty bound to provide a decent standard of care that is available to everyone, regardless of disability. A diagnosis of autism should never be a reason for someone to be denied access to the mental health support they need, yet our report shows this is a reality. We call upon the authorities to improve mental health outcomes for the autistic population by ensuring services are accessible and appropriate for autistic people; securing funding for support services that currently do good work such as some of the existing One Stop Shops; prioritising research into autism and mental health; providing autistic-led training for staff; and creating a route for newly-diagnosed autistic people to access appropriate services. None of this should be done without the involvement of autistic people ourselves. Our message is clear: nothing about us, without us”.