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The National Autistic Society estimates that around 70-80% of autistic people will develop a mental health condition at some point in their lives. It is therefore critical that autistic people have equitable access to mental health services, with reasonable adjustments made where appropriate.
On 5 December 2018, the Government announced that we will be launching a comprehensive review of our autism strategy, ‘Think Autism’. This is to ensure it remains fit for purpose. The Government wants an autism strategy that works for all autistic people, and that is why, working very closely with the Department for Education, the Department of Health and Social Care will be extending the strategy to include children.
To inform our review we launched a national call for evidence, which closed on 16 May. This will help us understand what is working and where we need to push harder to transform experiences of autistic people. We will be considering the evidence in respect of mental health services as part of this and we will be publishing the revised strategy later this year.
In March 2018, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated their existing guideline and Quality Standard on diagnosing and managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults, young people and children. NICE has established an expert working group to look at how the current NICE guidance and quality standard on ADHD are being implemented. It is working to identify best practice and examples of innovation, which have improved outcomes for people with ADHD, so that these can be widely disseminated to commissioners to improve local practice.
Under the NHS Long Term Plan, there will be a comprehensive expansion of mental health services, with an additional £2.3 billion in real terms by 2023/24. This will give 380,000 more adults access to psychological therapies and 345,000 more children and young people greater support in the next five years. The National Health Service will also roll out new waiting times to ensure rapid access to mental health services in the community for those that need it and expand crisis care.