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Department of Health response to the National Autistic Society’s correspondence campaign about the provision of mental health services for people with autism

  • Last modified date:
    30 March 2011
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The Department of Health welcomes the National Autistic Society’s campaign You Need to Know.  This campaign will help child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) throughout the country to better understand how to provide appropriate mental health care to children with autism who also have mental health problems.  The Government’s mental health strategy No health without mental health, which was published on 2 February, will help ensure that however the Department’s plans for modernisation of the NHS impact on CAMHS, local services will be able to provide appropriate care.  More information about the strategy can be obtained at:

It is for local organisations, including primary care trusts (PCTs), to make joint assessments of the health needs of individuals in their local populations.  The assessments should help local partners to commission appropriate services to meet those needs, including services that have access to the knowledge and skills needed to provide effective help to those children and young people who have both autism and mental health issues.  Emotional wellbeing and mental health services are wide-ranging – provision ranges from health promotion activity in mainstream settings to targeted services in specialist units.  Where individual children and young people have both a mental health problem and autism, local partners should meet their complex needs by developing the right package of care within the overall local commissioning framework.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is, at the Department of Health’s request, preparing a clinical guideline in relation to the initial recognition, referral and diagnosis of autism in children and adolescents.  The guideline is due to be published in September.  The Department for Education and Department of Health have a joint programme in place to enable local authorities and PCTs to assess the effectiveness of their local processes for assisting disabled young people as they move to adulthood and adult services.  Every local area is receiving funding and support to improve, and the aim is that every area will meet minimum standards by the end of the year.

The Department of Health’s ongoing autism programme is designed to drive improvement in services for people with autism across the public sector.  As part of this programme of activity, the Department is working to help local services ensure that they offer proper support to people with autism and their families.

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