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An Oban woman has been at the forefront of research into the mental health of young people with autism.
Fern Adams, from Lerags, was a co-researcher with the charity Ambitious about Autism and the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at University College London, looking at mental health and young autistic people.
Fern, 24, said: ‘Our findings have now been released in a report and we have created a toolkit to help young autistic people identify their own mental health and know when to seek help.
‘Four out of five young people with autism have experienced mental health issues.’
Fern is one of 40 young people fighting to change the way people think about autism and mental health.
Fern is a youth patron with national charity Ambitious about Autism helping to raise awareness about autism nationally.
For the past six months Fern has been working on a report and some newly released resources. According to the report, four out of five young people with autism have experienced mental health issues.
Fern, said: ‘I’m so proud to have been a part of this work, which is already making a huge difference.
‘It’s great that people are beginning to understand that autistic people don’t have to be unwell, that like everyone else we can, and should, seek help but that when we do people must listen.
‘Our toolkit is available to all GPs as part of their online autism resources, which is a pretty big thing already.’
The report outlines three key points young autistic people believe will make the biggest difference to their experience of mental health:
- They must have support identifying and communicating how they feel.
- To reduce stigma and increase the knowledge around mental health and autism.
- They must be able to find and access suitable support when they need it.
The full report can be found at www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/the-research