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Mental health and autism toolkit launched

Practical materials have been released to help improve the quality of mental health services for adults with learning disabilities or autism. 

A report released last year by the National Development Team for inclusion (NDTi) found that some areas of England are already making adjustments to mental health services for people with learning disabilities and people with autism.

As a result, the NHS Confederation, supported by the Department of Health, commissioned NDTi to produce materials to help services review their own quality and share good practice. 

The Green Light 2013 Toolkit includes an audit framework to support reviews and a database of examples of reasonable adjustments made by services, as a resource for people seeking to innovate. 

The introduction to the toolkit states: “The legal obligations that mental health services must address in relation to the impact of mental illness on mental capacity, human rights and deprivation of liberty safeguards are no less important for people whose ability to make independent and informed decisions and to communicate their intentions is impaired by learning disability or autism. 

“Sadly, we noted that 'the overwhelming message we heard from people with learning disabilities, people with autism and families, was of a failure by services to meet their legal obligations to ensure equal access to services'. This second report provides practical assistance to help mental health services do better.”  

Stephen Dalton, chief executive of the Mental Health Network which represents NHS-funded mental health and learning disability service providers, said: "We welcome this opportunity to focus attention on making services accessible for vulnerable individuals. Importantly, we need to see a comprehensive range of mental health services commissioned and gaps in provision addressed."

The toolkit is available to view on the NDTi website