Autism and Mental Health Care

[In progress]

project summary

Autistic people (both children and adults) experience high rates of mental health problems, but autism is often reported being missed in mainstream mental health services, and mental health care is rarely tailored to their needs and often reported to be unsuitable. To inform policy in this area, we conducted a pair of co-produced systematic reviews of literature on strategies that have been developed to improve access, experiences of care and mental health outcomes for autistic adults, and children and young people. Within the scope of our reviews were bespoke strategies for autistic people with mental health problems, adaptations of standard interventions and services, and strategies to improve identification of autism in mental health services. The questions we investigated were:

  1. What strategies have been developed to improve mental health treatment and services for autistic people, and what is the acceptability and feasibility of these strategies?
  2. How effective are strategies that have been developed to improve mental health care for autistic people?

The protocol for our review is available hereA working group including MHPRU researchers, researchers with relevant lived experience, policy makers and experts in this field have worked together on this review. Partners include NHS England’s National Autism Team and the charity Autistica.