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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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(Not written by me)

Why you should hire an autistic person right now
Autistic people have been overlooked too often because employers can't see past social skills. That is a big mistake

By Simon Baron-Cohen
Friday 3 January 2020

In 2020, there will be a sea change in how autistic people are treated in professional settings. As companies are increasingly celebrate diversity in the workplace – diversity of gender, ethnicity and ability – this will extend to neurodiversity: different kinds of brains and minds.

Autistic people’s disabilities are widely known, but one of their best-established strengths is their attention to detail. Anecdotally, there are autistic children who can complete 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles with the picture-side face down, just through focusing on the shapes. This suggests a talent, sometimes called a savant skill, in both perception of and memory for detail.

Group studies conducted by psychologists have confirmed these anecdotes. In the Embedded Figures Test, in which subjects have to find a target shape within a larger design, autistic people, both children and adults, perform faster and more accurately than non-autistic (“neurotypical”) people. In visual-search tests, where subjects have to find a target stimulus in a large display of close imposters (such as finding a letter T among a sea of letter Is), autistic people are also faster and more accurate than neurotypical people.

This remarkable attention to detail is basically excellent pattern recognition and it appears to stem from systemising, an evolved function in the human brain that helps us understand how things work by analysing a system in terms of its underlying rules.

Like any skill, systemising occurs on a bell curve in the population, with some people being faster at spotting patterns than others. Autistic people are often strong systemisers. Indeed their attention is often described as “obsessive” as they check and recheck the patterns of a system.

This important skill has a number of benefits in the workplace. Autistic peoples’ excellent attention to detail means they may make fewer mistakes, and their narrow focus may mean that they are not satisfied until a task is completed. The high levels of honesty and loyalty that are closely associated with autism are obviously desirable qualities, too.

Yet, despite these strengths, autistic people experience high levels of unemployment, primarily because many jobs require strong social and communication skills to get through the interview stage. In 2020 we will see companies encouraging autistic applicants to apply to work for them and recruitment processes being modified to meet their needs. There are several reasons why this will be a welcome development. Firstly, it extends the basic human right to work and employment. Secondly, employment is closely correlated with good mental health, and autistic people often suffer from poor mental health, most likely because of forms of social exclusion.

Finally, teams in the workplace that are diverse are often more productive and more innovative.
With the right support and reasonable adjustments, autistic people make wonderful employees. In 2020, their remarkable strengths in pattern recognition will be harnessed for their benefit and the benefit of all in society.

Simon Baron-Cohen is professor of developmental psychopathology and director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University

Source: Wired

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