Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust is a mental health, learning disability and autism Trust.
We provide mental health and learning disability care and interventions for autistic people. In addition, we provide autism diagnostic assessment in some locations. In some areas this is commissioned by a third-party provider.
Our aim is to embed the principles of the Autism Act 2009 and Autism Strategy (2021-2023).
We want to:
- become more autism aware, informed, and responsive to the needs of autistic people.
- provide better access and clearer pathways to services.
Autistic people should have equal access to mental health services. We strive to make sure autistic people are treated by compassionate staff who have a good understanding of autism and can make reasonable adjustments to care where appropriate.
Autism is a relatively common neurodevelopmental condition. According to the Department of Health and Social Care it affects more than 1% of the population.
Many autistic adults have never received a formal diagnosis or may have been misdiagnosed. Autistic people have a higher risk of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and psychosis and research has found that autistic people have significantly higher rates of suicide and attempted suicide than non-autistic people.
It is important that we identify autism and work with autistic people who need mental health services.
Our autism goals are to:
- develop a trust-wide approach to embed the principles of the Autism Act 2009 and Autism Strategy (2021/23).
- ensure that our specialist autism diagnostic services are of the highest possible standard.
- train all staff in understanding autism relative to their role.
- ensure staff understand the impact of autism on mental health and can make reasonable adjustments.
- make sure autistic young people have a high-quality plan in place for when they move into adult services.
It is now over 12 years since the Autism Act was published and we’ve made significant progress. However, there is still a good deal of work to do before we can fully adhere to our obligations under the Autism Act 2009 and subsequent autism strategies (2021/23).
Involving autistic people and their families
We welcome involvement from autistic people and their families in every element of our work. We sometimes call these people experts by experience.
Our experts by experience:
- worked on the autism framework.
- sit on our autism steering group and associated work groups.
- developed infographics to support staff.
- have developed and co-delivered the autism awareness training.
Awards and achievements
In March 2019, we won the National Autistic Society Autism Professional Award for Outstanding Health Services. This was in recognition of how we embed autism training and make reasonable adjustments.
We know there is always more work to do. We remain committed to achieving our mission, including making reasonable adjustments when required.
We are committed to continuous improvement in access and delivery of all our mental health services for autistic people.
Contact the autism project team