Rates of mental health difficulties amongst the autistic community are extremely high. Despite being more likely to experience mental health difficulties however, large numbers of autistic people report problems with accessing mental health services that are adjusted and adapted to support their needs. Many mental health staff are highly skilled and dedicated to supporting clients, but longstanding systemic problems result in professionals lacking the required resources and training to provide effective support to their autistic clients (Mandy, 2022).
Within Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, we are privileged to offer an Adult Neurodevelopmental Liaison team; a three-year NHS England funded project, which aims to break down barriers that autistic people may face when accessing mental health services. Through adopting a consultation model, staff are supported through bespoke training, supervision and the provision of resources co-produced by psychologists, allied health professionals and experts by experience.
A key outcome of the project is the production of a neuro-affirmative reference guide to making reasonable adjustments within clinical services. In this talk, we will outline how to ensure equitable access and achieve positive outcomes for autistic people, drawing on a “4 Ps Reasonable Adjustments Model” to guide this process.