Note: Safeminds reported a frightening study from Denmark on autism and suicide on their site yesterday. As Mom to three adult women with autism, the statistic is paralyzing. My daughters appear to be healthy and happy young adults. Appear. For those with more severe autism, especially the pre-verbal, how does depression, deep depression present? For those who are able to attend school and work in the neurotypical world, the sense of difference must be profound. Women have a very different set of social expectations than men. I am old enough to start worrying in earnest about the life my children will lead when I am gone. I used to think of it as some future event, worth writing about, but it did not cross my mind every time I tucked them into bed. It does now.
New research generated from Denmark has discovered a shocking new statistic. People with autism have more than three times the rate of suicide and suicide attempt compared to the general population. The Danish research team’s study also reported that females on the spectrum and individuals with additional mental health conditions have a notably higher risk of suicide. In fact, women who hold an autism diagnosis had a four-fold higher risk of suicide attempt when compared to men. Additionally, more than 90% of individuals with autism who attempted suicide or died by suicide had a co-occuring pyschiatric disorder. Another important finding from this research is that unlike the general population, the risk of suicide doesn’t decrease with age for people on the spectrum. Danish experts are calling for expanded support and services for adults with autism, especially for those who have additional mental health disorders to mitigate the risk of suicide attempt throughout their lifespan. Read the original article at Safeminds.