15 May- 21 May 2023 is mental health awareness week, so ALAG and the Autism Hub focused on the link between autism and mental health at this month’s event. We were pleased to be joined by guest speaker Emma Grisdale- Clinical Psychologist on this topic. As anticipated, this was a well attended event with much discussion on the sources of anxiety and stress as well as efforts to seek help and coping mechanisms. A particular favourite was doing the dishes to relieve stress- sensory pleasing and physically engaging.
Emma’s presentation covered the statistics and mental health disorders linked with autism spectrum. Social anxiety being a recurring theme both in aspects of the presentation and the immediate questions that followed.
After the causes of anxiety, Emma then moved to coping mechanism and recognising triggers. Among others, there were relaxing and grounding techniques plus mindfulness, managing social fatigue and creating social predications.
There were some great comments particularly on anxiety triggers, the types of therapy and support as well at the access to these treatments. The discussions were interactive and engaging – demonstrating the importance of this topic.
It was a rewarding experience being part of an informative and audience driven event. My big thanks to Emma for her excellent and thorough presentation.
Nick Stone, ALAG peer support facilitator, 3 May 2023