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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

How can I help my son?

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I have two sons.  My eldest (18) has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and currently resides in a residential home for people with mental illness.  He has had some serious MH problems and is now learning how to manage these a little better.   My youngest (16) was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder about three years ago, but he receives no treatment or medication for this. 

As a family, we have had a very rocky three years which entailed two Child Protection interventions, the break up of the family (husband left home and eldest went into residential care) and contact with the police (eldest arrested and youngest interviewed under caution).  However, all family member see each other regularly and we are moving on positively.

I know my eldest son is getting the help that he needs.  His voice hearing and self-harming have reduced significantly.  My husband (who also has AS) lives close to us and I have come to terms with the fact that we 'live apart, together'.  My youngest son, however worries me.

My youngest son stopped attending school three years ago when we reached crisis point at home.  He received a few hours of tuition from  tutors from the local PRU but he hid from them most of the time (locking himself in the bathroom or barricading himself in the kitchen.  He only began to engage when he got a regular tutor who managed to build a relationship with him (albeit through a door to start with).  As a result,  he left school last summer with next to no qualifications (to his credit, he sat his GCSE and Functional Skills exams).   No college placement was identified (he refused to go for college interviews, ran away from them or stayed mute when the interview took place) and he joined a course with no transition in September.  He lasted a week and a half before the college said he was not participating and that he was not attending (he simply stopped attending in the second week) and they withdrew him from the course and told us they had nothing to offer him.

I contacted the SEN team in our LA and I mentioned my son's dilemma to our social worker (the case had now been stepped down to Child in Need).  The social worker said that this was not really something social services could help with and referred us to the 'Prevention' team (a local authority team concerned with preventing young people becoming NEET).  The Assessment and Review Officer mentioned a personalised learning pathway and said that if my son would not engage with that, his EHCP may have to be closed because he had no educational provision.  I phoned up the PLP but my son refused even to speak to them.

Now my son has applied for the army.  He has been to the Army Careers Office and (with my support) he has filled in an application form.  He is also working out at the gym every day (this is something he has done for the past two years).  However, I know he is not going to pass the army medical.  He has asthma and his anxiety is recorded on his medical records.  Additionally,  it would be miraculous if he could leave home and interact with a group of strangers, when he will not even go into the shops on his own (his dad waits outside the gym for him).


I do apologise for the length of this message.  However, my question is this:

Should I try the softly, softly approach.  That is, should I very slowly and very gently introduce my youngest to new experiences e.g. a ride on the bus, a new hobby we can do together, an online course and so on and hope his anxiety decreases so that, at some time in the future, he will re-engage with society?

Or should I continue looking for things for my son to do to break this inertia e.g the Prince's Trust, NCS more college courses and so on and continue pressing the local authority to help him?

An additional problem is that I work from home and have few resources (not much money) so time and activities will be limited and I am so frightened that if something does not change for my youngest, he will develop the mental health difficulties that have caused his brother so many problems.


Thank you for reading.












Edited by katzmum
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