This year’s Mental Health Awareness Day theme (10th October 2020) is “Mental Health for All”. This is particularly relevant for us in bemix as the rate of mental health problems in people with a learning disability and/or autism is up to double that of the general population (according to Mencap and Mind).

“This can be because those of us with autism or a learning disability often have access

to fewer resources and support to help develop coping skills, can experience more

negative life events, and face stigma and discrimination from people and services… 

However, the mental health of people with autism or a learning disability (or both) is

often overlooked or ignored. That’s why it’s really important that the services people

with autism and learning disabilities use are able to properly identify mental health

problems, so people can get the right support at the right time.” - (

Depression and anxiety are a natural response to being disconnected, isolated and having our choices controlled, limited and oppressed. People with learning difficulties and/or autism face these societal issues every day and the recent pandemic has put additional pressure on support and services resulting in even greater isolation and limitations on choice.  

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society” - Jiddu Krishnamurti

This is why our core work in bemix is so important. We are working hard to change individual and systemic attitudes in society so that people with learning difficulties and/or autism can be seen, be heard and belong.

What We Do

We nurture an inclusive, collaborative and respectful culture in bemix in line with our EPIC values where we are Equal, People, Involved, Co-Workers. The kind of culture we want to see in wider society. The kind of culture where everyone feels heard, seen and that they belong and are valued as an individual. Since 2018, it has been part of our Big Plan to develop additional Wellbeing Support for people in bemix as “group time is often interrupted by people needing additional emotional support. Our workforce goes above and beyond to respond, but we hope to relieve some of that pressure by piloting the role of wellbeing supporter.”

The need for this has increased since the Coronavirus pandemic, health concerns, lockdown measures and continuing uncertainty started to impact us in March 2020. People have been experiencing increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. In response, we have adapted the way we run our projects, developed wellbeing and mental health peer support, specialised guidance and discussion around supporting people to talk about death and dying, and have developed a project to facilitate accessible counselling for people with learning difficulties and/or autism. 

Bemix student counsellor, Viv, says, “people with learning disabilities and/or autism are often overlooked when it comes to their mental health. This leads to low self worth, low self esteem and a lack of confidence in their own abilities. With the right help and encouragement, people with learning disabilities and/or autism can contribute so much to society. They can teach others about inclusion and that learning disabilities and/or autism are not something to be feared” 

In the world outside bemix, we have also been running the #Right2Home campaign which aims to increase choice and connection for those at the highest risk of isolation, and have used music and the arts to connect with communities across the world.


Isolation Maybe

No Labels, No Walls

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