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Our Autism and Mental Health Support Team provide specialist advice to support the Trust's mental healthcare professionals (community and inpatient services) working in Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington. The service supports professionals working with adult service users with a diagnosis of autism who are under their care for a mental health need.
The team does not see service users directly or carry out joint appointments with the individual, but will work with the health professional or multidisciplinary team through one-to-one consultation and advice.

The team provide support to mental healthcare professionals by:

  • Facilitating discussion about how a service user's diagnosis of autism may be impacting on their accessing and engagement of therapeutic services
  • Considering reasonable adjustments that may help a service user to engage in the appropriate services
  • Identifying how a service user's autism may be impacting on their mental health.

 As well as one-to-one consultation for mental health professionals, the team will provide interactive autism awareness and reasonable adjustments training to our Trust's mental healthcare professionals. Experts by experience contribute to the development and provision of the training, to ensure the voices and experiences of an autistic person are heard.
Examples of the team's work:

  • Staff provided one-to-one consultation to a member of staff in one of our recovery teams who was struggling to engage with a client because of social anxiety and trust issues. The consultation enabled the practitioner to identify ways of engaging which ultimately resulted in the service user being able to access the support they needed, and meant that the member of staff felt satisfaction from working and communicating effectively with the person.
  • Staff provided team consultation to a ward based team who needed support to put reasonable adjustments in place for a patient. Identifying a whole team approach to communication and identifying strategies that would work for the person meant that the patient was more settled on the ward and the staff were able to meet their needs effectively. They were therefore discharged from the ward after a short period of time.
  • Staff consulted with an assessment team practitioner who had been unable to assess a client due to his communication difficulties. Identifying adjustment and strategies for assessment meant that the practitioner was able to carry out a thorough assessment and make the appropriate forward referrals for community support. This meant that crisis was reduced and adequate support be put in place to prevent further mental health deterioration.

Our service provides training for mental health and health and social care professionals. 

Our interactive online training session will:

  • Increase your understanding of autism and neurodiversity
  • Provide information and tools on how you can understand, assess and provide effective interventions for adults with autism and mental health difficulties
  • Reflect on and identify realistic and potential reasonable adjustments you can make in your work
  • Think about how to assess and manage risk for individuals on the spectrum
  • Suggest what models and approaches can assist you in your work
  • Show you why we think in the way we do, and understand why we can sometimes struggle with difference

Staff working in mental health services in Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington can access our support from this team by completing an internal referral from via the Trust's electronic patient record system. Staff working in Talking Therapies services can refer using the electronic referral form which is available on request.