Corby autism campaigner attends Parliamentary debate

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An autism campaigner from Corby spent the day in the House of Commons to hear a debate on autism and mental health.

Georgia Harper, 23, a youth patron for charity Ambitious about Autism, watched a parliamentary debate on autism, mental health and suicide.

The debate was led by the SNP’s Dr Lisa Cameron who called for the government to do more to provide support to those on the autistic spectrum who also suffer from mental illness.

Earlier this year Georgia played a key role in a campaign called Know Your Normal, helping to raise awareness of mental health issues among people with autism. The research found that four out of five young people with autism have experienced mental health issues.

Georgia said: “The sad fact remains that autistic adults are up to nine times more likely to die by suicide, while autistic children are 28 times more likely to consider it. These statistics are upsetting but, importantly, this is not inevitable, and we can all make relatively small changes to accept autistic people and improve access to services and the wider community to reduce rates of mental ill health and suicide.”

She added: “I really enjoyed sitting in on a parliamentary debate and seeing how policy is created and shared in practice. The stories the MPs relayed from their autistic constituents were often shocking, but bringing these issues into parliament has the potential to create real change on a national level so that the next generation of autistic people don’t face the same barriers and high rates of mental ill health. I just hope all the talk now turns into action.”

During the debate Dr Cameron thanked Georgia for attending and for her work on the Know Your Normal campaign.