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15 October 2020

Tips for looking after your mental health if you are autistic

Being autistic means that your brain works in a different way from other people. It's something you're born with and is not a medical condition with treatments or a "cure". Like everyone, autistic people have things they're good at as well as things they struggle or need support with.

If you're autistic, it can be hard to find the support you might need when you are finding things tough. Around a quarter of autistic texters tell us that they don't have access to support and around a third have never asked for help elsewhere before contacting Shout.

It can feel scary to speak to someone you don’t know, but we are here for you if you are struggling to cope.

Texting can be easier than talking

Social interactions can be stressful if you are autistic. It can be harder to interpret other people’s emotions, facial expressions or tone of voice.

At Shout, just over half of autistic people who text us (52%) felt more comfortable texting than talking about private things and a third (33%) were too embarrassed to talk to someone in person or on the phone.


I'm autistic, so I don't do phone calls.

Shout texter feedback

Over text, you have control over when you start and end a conversation and you can choose what to communicate or share. Our volunteers will support you and help you to feel calmer.

How Shout works

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Do many autistic people contact Shout?

Around 1% of people are thought to be autistic in the UK. That’s around 700,000 people.

At Shout, our volunteers speak to many texters who are autistic. Our texter population is around 6 times more likely to report being autistic (6%) compared to the UK population (1%). Currently, 1 in 50 (2%) of our conversations at Shout mention autism or ASD every day.

You can text Shout about any thoughts or feelings you want support with.


I don't normally open up to people, but I could talk to Shout

Shout texter feedback

Advice from the National Autistic Society

If you're struggling with your mental health, there are things you can do to help. We spoke to the National Autistic Society about ways to support your own mental health and wellbeing on a daily basis.

Try to give each day structure

If you’re autistic, small changes and unexpected events can trigger intense anxiety. Plan a daily routine that will give you a sense of structure, making time for exercise, rest, eating and fun or relaxation.

Make sure there is somewhere you can go to if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or you have a way to block out sensory distractions

Being confined to a place, such as your home or workplace, can be stressful if it’s busy or loud. Having a way to take a break - such as a quiet area you can use or noise cancelling headphones - can be a helpful escape.

Tip: Let people know how you'd like to communicate

Many autistic people find communication difficult and it can be even harder if you’re stressed, tired or overwhelmed. You can agree how you’d like to talk to people. This could be over text, in writing or at specific times of the day.

All Shout data from Mental Health Innovations. This is based on texters who fill out the feedback survey following their conversation with Shout.

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