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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team

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  1. (Not written by me) Inspiring Britain: The chocolate shop supporting young people with autism After the success of our Inspiring Britain series in 2017, ITV News has decided there is always time for good news - so we are continuing to bring you stories about people making a difference and inspiring others in their communities and beyond. When Ash was eight, his parents decided to leave Pakistan, as they thought bringing their autistic son up in their home country would be too difficult. When they finally reached the UK, Mona and Shaz Shah were determined to make sure their son had a fair chance at life. In 2011 Mona quit her job in finance and the couple set up Harry Specters chocolate shop, an award winning chocolatier with a special social mission. Not only does Harry Specters sell award winning chocolate, but it also offers a chance of employment to people with autism. People with autism can struggle in social situations and so it can be difficult for them to find a job, however, with the right help, they can be model employees. Mona said: "Only 16% of people with autism are in any kind of employment, over 60% on benefits are able to work, they're willing to work but there are no opportunities for them. She added: "They have so much to offer, they have so many hidden talents, and it is just they need an environment where they can actually be themselves." Since 2012, the company has helped almost 200 young people, offering them work experience and for many, a first chance at paid employment. The mother of one employee said: “I get quite emotional thinking about the look on Ross’s face when he showed me the cheque you gave him for his work. "It was not about the money, but the confidence and self-worth he was feeling.” Oliver Warren, a chocolatier at Charlie Specters, says he thinks it is great Shaz and Mona set up the business. He said: "They're like two angels if I had to put it in words, helping autistic kids, like these guys here. They are angels." He added: "I feel quite proud for these guys for being here and working hard every day, it's pretty good." People start work at Harry Specters with the aim of making chocolate, however those with autism can often realise they had talents that they didn't know about. "Here they can actually explore what they are good at, what they're not good at, because it is a very supportive and safe environment," said founder Mona. "So they might come in not knowing they're good at accounting, and then through their work experience, the work they've been doing here, they realise, 'actually accounting is something I want to do'. "So John does all our accounting work now" Shaz says autistic workers have an advantage over others at work, because they are "very direct". "If they are not able or comfortable in doing something they'll just say 'no I don't want to', which is nice." "They will not pretend that they're doing something, if there is nothing to do, they will just sit idol or come after you and ask 'what should I do?' Which is very unusual compared to the rest of the people." Source: ITV News
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