Getting the right support is absolutely vital for autistic people, yet autism is repeatedly wrongly defined as a mental disorder under the Mental Health Act. This actively prevents some autistic people from getting the support they need.

Within the current definition, under the Mental Health Act if someone is perceived to be a risk to themselves or other people, they can be detained and admitted to a mental health hospital. This means that autistic people can be sectioned even though they do not have a treatable mental health illness.

This should simply not be happening. Without a change in the classification autistic people will continue to suffer from inappropriate treatment by professionals who don’t understand the kind of support they need. The same is true for people with Learning Disabilities – also defined as a mental disorder.

In November 2015 – over three years ago, the Government pledged to review these definitions, yet they have still not changed.

The National Autistic Society, along with Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, has now written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, asking him to change the definition for both autism and learning disabilities without delay. Please join us in adding your name to this open letter. We need your help!. The deadline to sign is March 13th.

Read more about the campaign.

Read more about autism and mental health inpatient facilities.

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