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Autism & Mental Health: 4 Advocates to Start Following

April 2nd is World Autism Day and I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the intersections between mental health and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research shows that people with ASD are more likely to develop mental health problems. For example, approximately 40% of people on spectrum have symptoms of an anxiety disorder at any given time compared to only 15% of the general population. Additionally about 70% of people with ASD are at risk of suffering from depression and severe anxiety. This is due to a wide range of reasons, one of them being that society is not accessible for people with ASD, as a result day to day life can be more challenging.

Unfortunately, even though people with ASD are more likely to experience mental health challenges, it is often more difficult for them to access mental health support. This is due to the fact that services are very siloed, services are usually only mental health related or autism related, it’s rare to find a service that can address both. This leads to people being seen as a series of symptoms instead of a whole person with unique characteristics. As a result, I want to highlight some ASD mental health advocates and helpful resources:

ASD/Mental Health Advocates

Agony Autie talks about her experience with anxiety and shares some tips on how to deal with it own your own as well as tips for loved ones with ASD/anxiety.

James Sinclair, the founder of Autistic and Unapologetic, has some great blogs related to mental health, stress, eating disorders and autism.

Dan from the Aspie World talks about his experience of depression, he posts new videos every week so check him out.

Amythest Schaber talks about her experience of Autistic Burnout and shares tips on how to cope in this video.

Helpful Resources:

National Autistic Society

Autisim Guide (pdf)

NPR artical about mental health and ASD 

Mind.org artical about wellbeing of people with ASD