Our Communications Worker James has written this article to mark World Mental Health Day 2016 – Monday 10 October.
It’s a fact that Mental Health issues and Autism are interlinked. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I can attest to this myself having suffered from Depression. However, it’s not just my personal experience that bears this out.
More than 40% of people with Autism have a least one anxiety disorder at any one time. This is compared to 15% in the general UK population. Depression is also very common. At least 20% of the general population have Depression at any one time, but in people with Autism it is significantly higher.
What are the causes? Well, firstly it’s the struggle to cope with everyday life. For people without Autism that can be difficult, but when you struggle to focus on things and get confused by the world around you it can be a lot worse. People with Autism and other learning difficulties can often find it hard to cope with people looking at them disapprovingly.
But there are ways that we can change this.
Firstly, an increased awareness of the link between Autism and Mental Health issues. If the general public can understand its prevalence then they will begin to be more accepting of it when they see it.
Secondly, openness about it. There’s nothing shameful about having Mental Health issues. In fact, it’s quite understandable if you look at it dispassionately.
Thirdly, making friends and having more social connections. Many people with Autism can end up isolating themselves from society, whether by circumstance or choice. By making friends, doing activities and generally getting out and about, positive change can happen. And that’s where Space Inclusive comes in handy too. We provide activities and social interaction for our clients, and because of that they are happier and feel they can achieve more. Their self-esteem is lifted!
So, on World Mental Health Day 2016 spare a thought for people with Autism and other Learning difficulties who have mental health problems.
They’re also a valuable part of our society!