Steve attends first ever Understanding Autism session in Parliament

Steve has attended the National Autistic Society’s first ever Understanding Autism session. Steve was one of 82 MPs who attended one of three sessions on 1 May, receiving more information on what autism is, guidance on how to create autism-friendly surgeries and tips on how to support autistic constituents.
 
There are around 700,000 autistic children and adults in the UK, a significant proportion of every MP’s constituency. The National Autistic Society believes that increasing MPs’ awareness and understanding of autism is an important step to improving their ability to support and champion the issues that matter to autistic people in their constituencies and in Parliament too. The charity was delighted that so many MPs attended and will be working with them to ensure support improves for autistic people at both local and national levels.
 
The sessions were run by four National Autistic Society staff, two of whom are autistic. The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), the Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP, who hosted the session, noted how crucial it is for parliamentarians to be more sensitive and aware of the challenges autistic people can face. Lots of the MPs who were there agreed that with kindness, patience and sensitivity they could make a big change to the way they support their autistic constituents.
 
Autism is a lifelong disability that affects how someone communicates and sees, hears and feels the world around them. It is a spectrum condition. This means autistic people have their own strengths and varying and complex needs, from 24-hour care to simply needing clearer communication and a little longer to do things at work and school.
 
Steve said: “I was delighted to attend the Understanding Autism session and grateful to the National Autistic Society for organising it”.
 
To find out more about autism or the charity, visit www.autism.org.uk.

Steve Pound backs calls for diabetes emotional and mental health support

Steve is backing calls from leading charity Diabetes UK to create new national standards for diabetes emotional and mental health support, and to increase support available locally to the 28,578 people living with diabetes in the area.  

Recently published research from the charity revealed that the relentless nature of diabetes can impact people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health, ranging from day-to-day frustration and low mood, to specific psychological and mental health difficulties such as clinical depression and anxiety.

The findings, published in the report “Too often missing: Making emotional and psychological support routine in diabetes care”, show that diabetes is much more than a physical condition. Mr Pound joined Diabetes UK at a parliamentary event, as the charity launched its campaign to make the emotional and psychological demands of living with diabetes recognised and provide the right support to everyone who needs it. 

Diabetes UK is urgently calling on the NHS to create national standards for diabetes emotional and mental health services. These should ensure that everyone receives joined up care, that they are asked how they are feeling as part of every diabetes appointment, and that a mental health professional with knowledge of diabetes is part of every diabetes care team.

“The demands of living with diabetes affect people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, but mental health support is often missing from diabetes care. And when diabetes cannot be well managed, the risk of dangerous complications increases. 

We need diabetes care that includes emotional and psychological support to help people improve both their physical and mental health, reduce pressure on services, and save the NHS money.”

Diabetes UK has launched a petition to call for national standards for diabetes mental health support and services. To find out more about the campaign and sign the petition go to www.diabetes.org.uk/missing