STOMP – Stop Over Medication

This stop over medication guide is available in three versions on this page: text, image, and PDF download. Please choose the option you would like to read.

STOMP Guide – Text Version

STOMP Guide – Image Version

STOMP Guide – PDF Download

STOMP Guide – Text Version

Stopping the over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both

Everyone working together to stop the over use of psychotropic medicines and to improve people’s quality of life.

What is STOMP?

STOMP is a project in England to stop the over use of psychotropic medicines.

There is more information about these medicines on the next page.

These medicines are used to treat mental health conditions. Sometimes they are also given to people because their behaviour is seen as challenging.

People with a learning disability, autism or both are more likely to be given these medicines than other people.

These medicines are right for some people. They can help people stay safe and well. Sometimes there are other ways of helping people so they need less medicine, or none at all.

STOMP is about everyone working together to make sure people get the right medicine when they need it.

It is also about making sure that people get the other support they need. This might mean they are less likely to need this sort of medicine.

STOMP is about helping people to stay well and have a good quality of life.

About psychotropic medicines

Psychotropic medicines are a group of medicines that change how the brain works.

They are used for mental health conditions like psychosis, anxiety and depression. They are also used to help people sleep. They also include medicines for epilepsy. Sometimes these medicines are used to change the way that people behave. Even when they do not have a mental health condition or epilepsy.

Public Health England says that every day about 30,000 to 35,000 adults with a learning disability are
taking psychotropic medicines, when they do not have the health conditions the medicines are for. Children and young people are also prescribed them.

Psychotropic medicines can cause problems when people take them for too long. Or take too high a dose. Or take them for the wrong reason. This can cause side effects like:

  • putting on weight
  • feeling tired or ‘drugged up’
  • serious problems with physical health.

There are often other ways of helping people so they need less medicine.

  • Do not change your dose of these medicines or stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
  • Your doctor and the people who support you will help you.

Getting it right for me

  • work with me and the people who support me, my family,
  • the doctor and others to get my treatment right
  • make sure I have regular medicine reviews
  • help me look after my physical health
  • make sure I take psychotropic medicine for the right reasons, in the right amount and for the shortest time possible
  • find other ways to help me stay well and safe
  • give me information I can understand so I know what things mean and can ask questions
  • involve me in decisions about my care and treatment
  • give my family and carers the information and support they need to help me.

Ways of supporting people

  • making person-centred plans with the person, family carers, staff and others
  • understanding when and why someone is having difficulties and what will help them feel better
  • helping people and those who support them to understand and manage their medicines
  • making information easy to understand
  • giving support with communication if needed, such as involving everyone in making a communication plan
  • helping people stay in good health overall, such as keeping fit and going for health check ups
  • using positive behaviour support to help people change how they behave and how they are supported
  • using ‘talking’ therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and art therapy
  • making sure family carers and staff also have the support they need.

A story about Jo

This story is about a real person, but the person’s name has been changed. The person in the photo acted the part of Jo in a play by MiXit.

When Jo moved to a new house it made her very stressed. People found it hard to support her.

Eventually she went into hospital because of this. Jo was taking five different psychotropic medicines even though she did not have a mental health condition. This made her put a lot of weight on and she started having health problems.

When Jo came out of hospital, she and her family worked with their GP, a local psychiatrist and a psychologist.

The GP put together a health care plan. Together they all worked at reducing Jo’s medicines. Her care team and family learned about positive behaviour support. And learned other ways of supporting her. With time and support from everyone, Jo started to feel better.

Jo does not need the medicines now. She has a healthy, happy and safe life in the community.

Changing how things are done

STOMP is about changing the ways things are done for years to come. Lots of organsations are working to make this happen. These organisations work with people who provide a wide range of health and social care services.

STOMP Partners

  • NHS England
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal College of GPs
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • British Psychological Society
  • Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) whose social care pledge has been signed by well over 100 provider organisations supporting over 40,000 people
  • British Association of Social Workers
  • Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists RCSLT
  • The Learning Disability Professional Senate includes NHS England, Care Quality Commission, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Department of Health, Health Education England
  • British Association of Music Therapy
  • Royal College of Occupational Therapists
  • British Dietetics Association
  • British Association of Art Therapy
  • British Association of Dance Therapy
  • British Association of Drama Therapy
  • British Association of Art Therapy
  • More partners are being added

For more information

visit or partner websites

For more help

Ask your doctor for a medicine review or an annual health check. Your doctor or nurse can help with finding other support too.

Social care providers – get involved here

Other advice and information

Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF)

Family Support Line: 0300 666 0126
Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-3pm
Medicines guidance for families on the CBF


Helpline 0808 808 1111, weekdays 9am-6pm

National Autistic Society

Helpline: 0808 800 4104, weekdays 10am-4pm

Many thanks to MIXit for their support with STOMP and this leaflet. And to all the other people who have helped with this leaflet.

Design by See Communications CIC
Pictures by Photosymbols and MiXit

STOMP Guide – Image Version