While A4 recognises the Health Minister’s “How’s your head today?” effort to support the mental health of Australians through this difficult COVID-19 period, we are concerned that autistic Australians have been left behind again.
Australian governments have a policy to recognise issues relating to the mental health of people with intellectual disability but to ignore the needs of autistic Australians. Minister Hunt and his department officially:
- reject evidence that autistic people have substantially higher than average rates of mental illness,
- prefer to prevent autistic people from accessing mental health services,
- expect funded mental health services will not help autistic people,
- are ignoring the needs of autistic people with mental illness experiencing stresses due to COVID-19, and
- increased funding for mental health services should not help autistic people in any way.
Just two days ago, the Disability Royal Commission released an interim report that observes:
Despite the challenges experienced by people with autism in accessing and receiving health care described by a number of witnesses, there appears to be a dearth of national initiatives directed towards this group.
The failures, the dearth of initiatives for autistic Australians and the consequent lack of services, are especially pronounced in relation to mental health of autistic Australians.
Contact: Bob Buckley, A4 Convenor