Aims: To establish the rate of suicidal thoughts, feelings, plans and attempts in autistic adults.
Background: It is known that rates of depression and anxiety are high in autistic people. This was the first large scale study to determine risk of suicidal behaviour in autistic adults.
Method: We surveyed over 400 adults attending an out-patient clinic in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who were seeking a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome.
Results: We found that two thirds of these adults had had suicidal thoughts and feelings, and one third had formed suicidal plans or actually attempted suicide.
Importance: This is a wake up call to recognise autistic adults are at elevated risk of suicide.
Relevance: We suspect the cause of this elevated suicide risk is lack of adequate support services. This research is the evidence base for investing greater funding into life-long services for autistic people.
Funders: NIHR CLAHRC; The Autism Research Trust.
- A ‘choice’, an ‘addiction’, a way ‘out of the lost’: exploring self-injury in autistic people without intellectual disability, Molecular Autism (2019), R L Moseley, N J Gregory, P Smith, C Allison, S Baron-Cohen
- Risk markers for suicidality in autistic adults, Molecular Autism 10.1186/s13229-018-0226-4 (2018), Cassidy, S, Bradley, L, Shaw, R, Baron-Cohen S
- People like me don’t get support’: Autistic adults’ experiences of support and treatment for mental health difficulties, self-injury and suicidality, Autism 29:1362361318816053 (2018), L Camm-Crosbie, L Bradley, R Shaw, S Baron-Cohen, S Cassidy
- Suicidal ideation and suicide plans or attempts in adults with Asperger’s syndrome attending a specialist diagnostic clinic: a clinical cohort study, The Lancet Psychiatry 1:142-147 (2014), S Cassidy, P Bradley, J Robinson, C Allison, M McHugh, S Baron-Cohen