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"People like me don't get support": autistic adults' experiences of support and treatment for mental health difficulties, self-injury and suicidality

Camm-Crosbie, Louise; Bradley, Louise; Shaw, Rebecca; Baron-Cohen, Simon; Cassidy, Sarah

Authors

Louise Camm-Crosbie

Louise Bradley

Rebecca Shaw

Simon Baron-Cohen



Abstract

Autistic people are at high risk of mental health problems, self-injury and suicidality. However, no studies have explored autistic peoples’ experiences of treatment and support for these difficulties. In partnership with a steering group of autistic adults, an online survey was developed to explore these individuals’ experiences of treatment and support for mental health problems, self-injury and suicidality for the first time. Two hundred autistic adults (122 females, 77 males, 1 unreported) aged 18 to 67 (M = 38.9 years, SD = 11.5), without co-occurring intellectual disability, completed the online survey. Thematic analysis of open-ended questions resulted in an overarching theme that individually tailored treatment and support was both beneficial and desirable, which consisted of three underlying themes: a) difficulties in accessing treatment and support; b) lack of understanding and knowledge of autistic people with co-occurring mental health difficulties; and c) appropriate treatment and support, or lack of, impacted autistic people’s wellbeing and likelihood of seeing suicide as their future. Findings demonstrate an urgent need for autism treatment pathways in mental health services.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2019
Journal Autism
Print ISSN 1362-3613
Electronic ISSN 1461-7005
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 6
Pages 1431-1441
APA6 Citation Camm-Crosbie, L., Bradley, L., Shaw, R., Baron-Cohen, S., & Cassidy, S. (2019). "People like me don't get support": autistic adults' experiences of support and treatment for mental health difficulties, self-injury and suicidality. Autism, 23(6), 1431-1441. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361318816053
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361318816053
Keywords Autism specturm condition; Mental health; Self-injury; Suicide; Treatment support
Publisher URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1362361318816053

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