Breaking Barriers for Autism and Mental Health
Like any individual, autistic people can have good mental health. However, they can also suffer from mental health disorders like any other person would, where according to autism research charity Autistica, seven out of ten autistic people have a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, ADHD or obsessive-compulsive disorder (Mental Health Foundation, 2022).
Autism, often known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a group of disorders marked by difficulties with social skills, repetitive behaviours, language, and nonverbal communication. We currently know that there are many varieties of autism, and as autism is a spectrum disorder, this means that each individual with autism has their own blend of abilities and limitations. People with autism can learn, reason, and solve challenges in different of ways, ranging from highly proficient to severely impaired. Many individuals with ASD may require a great deal of assistance in their everyday lives, whereas others require less assistance and, in some circumstances, live independently.
When speaking on people with autism and any mental health issues they may face, there is a wide range of barriers for those with autism that make it more difficult for these people to receive adequate help for their mental health, if any at all. Low autism awareness and understanding among mental health professionals, communication gaps in scenarios where an individual with autism is nonverbal, sensitivities in regards to sensory, and an absence of consultation and cooperation between mental wellbeing, contemporary health, integrated care, and other sectors such as education, work opportunities, equality, and shelter are some of these barriers. A lot of the time a person with autism who is being evaluated for mental health issues will find their mental health being regarded as a symptom of their disorder, where like any other person, a lack of proper treatment for mental health illnesses lead to deterioration and a more poor quality of life.
To help with the barriers between autism and mental health, it is suggested that those who seek to be medical practitioners receive an extensive amount of education in regards to autism spectrum disorder. When a qualified individual is introduced to a person with autism it is important that they are understood and not taken as an “easy case” where symptoms of mental health illnesses are attributed to the disorder they face. Although people with autism experience some mental illnesses more than an individual without autism, it does not mean that it should not be treated as a separate health condition.
The information provided in this blog is not professional medical advice and should not be taken as such. If you have any questions or concerns about yourself or someone you know, please seek advice from a medical professional.