Mental Health Priorities

Full paper:

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Full paper:
Nothing about us without us
Who: Benevides and colleagues
Journal: Autism
Published: 2021
Title: Listening to the autistic voice: Mental health priorities to guide research and practice in autism from a stakeholder-driven project

Mental Health Priorities for Autistic Adults

Autistic people are more likely to experience mental health difficulties in their lifetime. This research wanted to talk to autistic adults about how they could be better supported with their mental wellbeing.


They discussed many things about health with over 350 autistic adults over a two year period, through focus groups and online surveys

The three main priorities identified by the autistic adults were mental health, access to healthcare, and gender & sexual health. This paper describes the mental health priorities.

The top five priorities for research & understanding were:
Quality of life
Social well-being


The autistic adults felt that it is important to understand the extent to which trauma and stigma is experienced across their lifespans.

They wanted more accessible information on how to manage their own needs without the gatekeeping of medical professionals and care providers who have little to no understanding of autism. Self-initiated interventions mentioned included medical marijuana, mindfulness meditation, and animal-assisted therapies.


They reported that they would participate mental wellbeing activities such as art therapy, physical activity, and animal-assisted therapy, but would not participate in applied behaviour analysis (ABA), antipsychotic medications, or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Their top priorities for research were:
– Understanding the impact of trauma
– Understanding the impact of social isolation & discrimination
– Developing interventions for self-management
– Understand of short and long term side effects of current interventions
– Development of tools to measure autistic quality of life, anxiety, depression, social wellbeing, and sleep

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