People with autism spectrum disorders such as autism and Asperger Syndrome can be prone to depression, which may lead to a risk of suicide in some cases. These developmental disorders have a lasting change in a person’s thinking, how they react to certain situations, their work and how they relate to others. People with Asperger’s or autism may face increased stress, greater difficulty with relationships, difficulty managing their own emotions, and often fewer skills for dealing with these problems. Without appropriate support they may find themselves feeling isolated and helpless.
It is important to realize that because of these and other factors, autistic teenagers and adults might experience feelings of depression and may be at greater risk of suicide. For people who think about ending their lives, suicide may represent an answer to what they feel is an otherwise unsolvable problem. The choice may appear preferable to circumstances such as enduring emotional distress or disorder, which the person may fear more than death.
It is particularly important for family members, friends and those who care about the person to know the danger signs, know ways of being helpful and know who you can turn to for advice or referral.
September 5-11 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Although it is very important for all people to focus on their mental health and well-being, it is particularly important for the caretakers of those who have autism. Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome can affect communication abilities, which may complicate seeing the cues of a person in trouble.
Please visit these sites for more information:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
To Write Love on Her Arms: http://www.twloha.com/
Need immediate help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255