Supporting mental health
Autism is not a mental health condition. However, many autistic people do experience mental health issues and may have a co-occurring mental health condition such as anxiety or depression.
Autism and anxiety
Autistic people often say that their high levels of anxiety stem from living in a world they frequently do not understand, and which doesn’t understand them. This world can feel chaotic and frightening at times, which generates high levels of anxiety.
As a result of autistic peoples’ differences, it can be difficult to connect with others and can result in people becoming isolated and lonely, often leading to mental health conditions such as depression.
Changing the environment
Making changes to the environment or offering other means of support can often help autistic people to feel more at ease and help overcome some anxieties. For example, adjusting the lighting and noise levels or using tools such as ear defenders and sunglasses may help when dealing with anxiety caused by sensory overload.
How to get help
When supporting the mental health needs of autistic people, it is important to know when and where to go to seek help and support from healthcare professionals. Sadly, mental health problems in autistic people are frequently overlooked and seen as a by-product of autism, but it is really important that mental health conditions are considered separately to autism, so that individuals get the help they need.
Find out more about anxiety and mental health and where to find help, by clicking on the links below.
Links to more resources
Stress and anxiety and its impact
Autistic people can have difficulty managing their own emotions as a result of their differences and can quickly become overwhelmed. They may be more prone to meltdowns or may appear to ‘overreact’ to something others consider minor. Read more on how to help autistic people with stress and anxiety.