Suicidal Ideation & ASD: I Don’t Know

Today for the first time since it launched, I used Facebook’s Suicide Support Tool. Only for someone to remove the post. Now how was that helpful? Why would they remove the post that was filled with encouraging comments and support? And of course I have no idea if the poster was offered any of the supports shown in The Mighty’s tutorial article before the post was taken down. I can only hope it was the poster that decided to remove the post himself. So naturally Facebook’s Support Inbox reports back to me that the post in question had been removed before they could investigate it – HOURS after my request for assistance. To be honest I originally believed it was Facebook staff that removed the post. A part of me still does.

Given the fact that he didn’t respond at all to any of the comments after his initial post, I had no idea if he was even okay when his post went down. Luckily, a fellow member had taken a screenshot of the post and started a new thread and reported that they were speaking to him in private chat and he was currently okay. I only hope he remains so and that he seeks treatment in the near future.

That crisis aside, I find myself raising a few points to go over here:

  • I don’t personally know the poster in the support group
  • The poster is a young adult male on the Autism Spectrum
  • Men present and respond to depression differently than women
  • I’m not sure if the typical means of providing support are appropriate due to the communication barriers that comes with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • While I did see an outpouring of caring within the support group reach out to this young man, I also saw the frustrating unhelpful platitudes (You know, “Other people have it worse.” or “It’s could be worse.”)

I did see someone post the national suicide hotline and I offered encouraging articles like this one from The Mighty written by people who have been right where he is now in the hopes it would provide him some comfort. I also searched the internet for advice on how to provide unique support for those with Autism experiencing depression. All I found were scores of articles like this one discussing how high risk they are for developing depression and how easy it is for it to go unnoticed. And other articles like this one stressing suicide prevention.

But what about those who are already standing on the edge and are planning to jump?

  • They have difficulty with social interaction, so how do you approach them to talk about this?
  • Once you do approach them, how do you encourage them to talk without shutting them down?
  • If you don’t know them personally, how do you encourage them to trust you enough to seek help?

Bottom line, what do you?

I deeply believe in patient centered care plans – meaning the person in question NEEDS to be involved in the care plan development to improve its effectiveness. This person reached out and expressed his suicidal ideation on the internet, meaning he is fully capable of being part of that development process in his care plan. No I don’t know him and I have done all I can do.

However, this strikes a new question I haven’t considered before. What do I do if my Autistic son is hit with depression and suicidal ideation? I’d rather have a plan and never need it then need it and not have it.

All I could find is a generalized article titled “24 Real Ways to Help Someone Who’s Feeling Suicidal” but it isn’t specific to anyone or any illness/disorder. Is that enough or should there be something more?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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