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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) ‘Nature became a support system’: How autism helped me campaign for wildlife A 15-year-old conservationist and activist from Northern Ireland writes about how it’s easier for him to connect with the natural world than other aspects of life By Dara McAnulty As a toddler, I crawled to observe, and sometimes catch, anything that moved: caterpillars, woodlice, ants. I intently observed birds, their behaviour and watched in wonder at their intricacy and how they interacted with everything around them. At this stage, I was unaware of my difference but as I grew, I knew the world was too noisy, too busy, too confusing and too overwhelming. I was diagnosed with Asperger's / autism aged five, at the insistence of my school – my parents had accepted and nurtured my eccentricities and even though I knew that I made life challenging for them. They always showed unconditional love and acceptance. Nature brought so much understanding to my life. It satiated my curiosity and then quenched my thirst for knowledge. My capacity to feel at one with the confusing aspects of our world grew when I was immersed in nature and learning all about it. My differently wired brain was at peace. By age seven I knew I was very different, I had gotten used to the isolation, my inability to break through into the world of talking about football or Minecraft was not tolerated. Then came the bullying. Nature became so much more than an escape; it became a life-support system – although I didn’t realise it then. By age 12, my mental health was in tatters, years of bullying and isolation had taken its toll. I decided that I would write, unlock all the feelings that were swirling in my head, I needed to express what I couldn’t in real time through conversation. I started writing a blog about nature, autism, species I was interested in, the habitats they lived in and the challenges they faced. It quickly gained popularity beyond my wildest dreams. I joined Twitter and three years later, my life is irrevocably changed. I was invited on to Springwatch, asked to write articles for the Wildlife Trusts and my local newspapers. The BBC wanted to film me, record me for radio – all of this was completely unnerving and at times overwhelming – but I pushed through because even though it was all so new, I was doing what I loved. I was being myself. During this time, realising the extent that nature was suffering, I quite accidentally became an activist. I started campaigning firstly against the illegal persecution of hen harriers – a protected raptor, endangered and increasingly rare. It hurt me so deeply, that the words on the page needed to be spoken out loud. I stood up and spoke that first time, aged 13, and all of a sudden I felt a great strength burn inside me. I realised I had potential to do good, to give back to nature – which has given me so much joy, wonder and healing. One of the qualities of being autistic is our determination and focus. Many people call our interests ‘obsessions’, I call them passions. My passion is the natural world, our planet, all life we share it with and the challenges it faces. I will never give up. Wherever my passion is willing to take me I am ready for it, it’s who I am. Read more from Dara at youngfermanaghnaturalist.com and follow on Twitter @NaturalistDara Source: The Big Issue
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