Mental health is the number one research priority for autistic people and their families. But currently only 3% of autism research globally focuses on mental health.

Over the last few years we’ve responded by investing almost three quarters of our research budget in projects related to mental health. 

However, a lot of gaps remain in our understanding of how best to support autistic people with mental health problems.

We tend to assume that what helps most people will also help autistic people. It doesn’t necessarily work that way.

Mike, parent and GP


We want the Government to work with us to fill these gaps and make the UK the world leader in mental health research for autistic people.

We’ve worked with autistic people, family members, health professionals and researchers to identify five of the most pressing questions about autism and mental health. 

With public investment this research could transform mental health services and therapies for autistic people:

  1. What mental health interventions are effective in helping autistic people with learning disabilities?
  2. What clinical indicators should health professionals look for to identify depression in autistic people?
  3. What makes a peer support programme personalised and effective for managing or improving mental health in autistic people?
  4. What adjustments should be made to help autistic people at risk of suicide to reach support when they are at a crisis point?
  5. Are anti-depressants effective treatments for depression in autistic adults?