October 10 was World Mental Health Day. A staggering 71% of children with autism also have a mental health problem, such as depression. In addition, a third of adults with autism told us they had developed a severe mental health problem as a result of a lack of support. Yet autism is not a mental health problem and people with autism can and do enjoy good mental health. Given the right support, mental health problems can be prevented. All too often they either get no help at all or help is inappropriate or, on occasion, even harmful. This has a devastating effect on families. The National Autistic Society is calling for this tragic waste of lives and money to stop. We all need to know that by giving people with autism the understanding and support they need, we help promote their health and happiness.
Head of Policy, National Autistic Society