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Depression in young people with ASD

My 18 year old grandson is a non verbal, yet quite high functioning, young man with ASD.  Over the past couple of years he has had spells of totally withdrawing and taking to his bed for long periods.  These seem to be becoming more frequent recently and we are concerned for his mental health.  Where can we locate the appropriate professional help?  Because he is non verbal is it very difficult to establish what is troubling him.


  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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  • htlcyhtlcy Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    Hi @nanoo , thanks for sharing your story. ASDs can often lead to what we call SEMH problems (social, emotional and mental health). I work in a Learning Support department and support several students with ASDs of varying degrees. What I would suggest is seeing his SENCo or learning support manager at school (these are available at both mainstream and special schools). They can assist you with ideas as to how to keep him motivated etc during difficult times, and might be able to help accessing mental health services from an educational point of view. I would also go to the GP, but be aware that waiting times for a lot of mental health services are ridiculously long, which is why it might be good to try every suggestion I've mentioned on here! Other options include looking for advice from charities (you could try ringing Scope, accessing help from Mind and possibly Mencap). It's great that you're taking the time to address this, and I really hope he gets some help soon. Let us know how you get on, 
  • bendigedigbendigedig Member Posts: 254 Pioneering

    like @DannyMoore I too suffered with depression as a child with Aspergers.

    Much later in life I became Secondary Teacher.  During this time the painful realisation that many school teachers have little or no life or profesional experience of Autism and or other disabilities became blatantly apparent.

    CAMHS is where you need to be going.  Hopefully via a GP referal.  But frankly this should not be necerssary as self referral is just as relevant as a Doctors referral.  If you are overtly worried and or concerned about your grandsons mental health I would reccomend that you make this a priority.

    I have worked with quite a few teenagers with ASD who amongst other issues depression was a problem.  Some of them I know still today as adults.

    I think that watching sombody go through depression is agonising.  Particularly when you feel you know little of what is going on in there.  Being non verbal is somthing that will be compounding your grandsons already difficult experiences I imagine.

    I am sorry to hear about what you are going through.  Please dont loose sight of the fact that adolescence is a tough time for everybody.   I remember a couple of young men who used to worry me to death with the way they felt about the world and their lives in it....  They are quite different now though and relatively happy people :)

    Good luck.  Please let us know how you get on :)

  • VioletFennVioletFenn Member Posts: 124 Pioneering
    Hi @nanoo

    I can't add much to what's already been said, but will second the CAMHS suggestion because they really do have the resources for this kind of situation. 

    Good luck and do let us know how you get on.

    ASD Advisor, Scope
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