The Prime Minister outlined plans to improve support for people with mental health problems in England, involving the NHS, schools and employers, this morning.

Autism is not a mental illness, but more than 70% of autistic people experience mental health problems such as anxiety or depression at some point in their lives. The measures announced today, if implemented properly, have the potential to make a difference to many autistic people and their families.

The Prime Minister said that there would be an end to ‘inappropriate’ out of area placements for children who need inpatient care by 2021. We've been campaigning alongside a number of families whose children have been sent far from home to get the mental health support they need because of insufficient specialised services locally.

This can be incredibly stressful and damaging for a young person and their family, which is why we believe providing the right help close to home must be a priority for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Theresa May also announced a Green Paper, which will set out proposals for change in CAMHS in the spring. We want to make sure that these measures mean that autistic children and young people can get an early diagnosis and appropriate post-diagnostic support.

In her speech, the Prime Minister also said there will be a review into mental health in the workplace. Our research indicates that just 16% of autistic adults are in full time paid work. In line with our recommendations in our recent report, The Autism Employment Gap, we urge the Government to explore how employers can better support their autistic employees, as well as those with mental health problems.

Read more about today's speech. If you have any questions or comments on the speech, please email us on policy@nas.org.uk.