A Journal Entry, Uncategorized

Reasons Autistic People Are at Greater Risk of Suicide

TW/CW: This post has information about suicide and suicide prevention. For help 24/7, please call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.

In my “autism” news feed the other day, as I sometimes do, I come across obituaries of late people that sometimes have autistic challenges or are strong autism advocates. There were two obituaries the other day of two individuals that passed, both around 30. But the one struck me as one that is a common battle of the autistic. population.

Besides donations asked to be made to autism charities, they were asked to be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This is a national taskforce working to prevent suicide among the community in general. This made me look into the fact of suicide among autistic individuals.

According to recent studies, autistics are three times likely to die by suicide than their neurotypical peers.

Per Psychology Today, there are six reasons that Autistic People Are at Greater Risk of Suicide:

  1. Mental health problems
  2. Late Diagnosis
  3. Adverse Life Events
  4. Camouflaging or Masking
  5. Cognitive inflexibility, or someone’s ability to think about situations in different ways and adjust to evolving circumstances
  6. Isolation

Some things that can be done to lower the risk of suicide are.

  • Seek a diagnosis
  • Talk to someone like a therapist – I would be no where near where I am without therapy.
  • Practice Self-Care

Others should know to:

  • Be aware of autistic masking
  • Suicidality can be different in autistic people. One study showed that far more people with Asperger’s syndrome experienced suicidal ideation than depression, which suggests a different route to suicidality in autistic people when compared to the general population.
  • Find ways to listen and communicate. You may have the temptation to reassure them that everything is OK or find an immediate “solution” to the problems they describe. But it’s important to remember that processing times may be slower among autistic adults, particularly when they’re experiencing distress. You need to create time and space so that they can express themselves, in whatever way is right for them.

Many of these factors are very true in my experience and I felt that after reading that obituary yesterday that even as talented as someone may seem, there are times when they may be down on themselves, even I am at times, but one thing I know is that I have a bunch of cheerleaders there for me on my journey and I hope that my autistic peers seek the help they need to take care of themselves before making any consequential decisions.

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