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Posted on 13 Oct 2023

Student Voice: Autism and Mental Health

On Tuesday it was World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness of mental health issues. Westminster Academy is proud to have its very own Student Mental Health Ambassador team, which supports colleagues to promote positive change in student mental health. One of our Ambassadors has been looking at the area of autism and mental health, and shares more below.


At WA, some students have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and some are autistic, and it is important to know the impact of bullying on these students and the mental health issues it can cause.

What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental condition that affects how you see the world and how you relate to other people. For some autistic students school can be overwhelming at times because of being sensitive to loud noises and bright lights. Many autistic people see things differently from others, which can be useful for solving problems and seeing things from a different perspective.

Autism and Bullying

“Disabled young people and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are significantly more likely to experience bullying - including online bullying - than their peers. Children who have learning disabilities and autism are particularly at risk.” (Anti–Bullying Alliance.) Sometimes, autistic students even wish to be “normal”, or neurotypical, so they might be bullied less or not at all, but it’s not something they can change or should have to change, it’s part of who they are.

Autism and Mental Health

While autism is not a mental health problem, seven out of ten autistic people have a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression or OCD. This is due to the problems they face because of their differences. Just like everyone else, autistic students want to be happy and have good mental health. 

Supporting Autistic Students

  • Everyone can support autistic students in some way to make sure that all students can have good mental health, whether autistic or not. Here’s a list of tips and resources.
  • Treat autistic students with respect, no need to talk down to them or speak to them as if they don’t understand, as it can feel patronising.
  • Ask how they like to be supported because not everyone likes to be hugged, patted on the back or shoulder, or they might not want to talk right at that moment.  
  • Try to understand that autistic people often experience things differently to others, so something that may not seem a big deal to you can have a big impact on an autistic person. 
  • Try these websites for more information on autism, bullying and mental health:
  • Anti Bullying Alliance 
  • Young Minds
  • Childline
  • National Autistic Society
  • The Mix 
  • Autistica
Zoey Anderson, Year 8 Student Mental Health Ambassador

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