One of the key themes in the stories so far in season one is mental health, and how that has pushed so many of us into the darkest of places.
It was indeed a feature in my own story, as a young adult, when an autistic meltdown pushed me to the point of attempting to close the book on my own story at 19.
I was unaware of my autism back then, because I had no frame of reference for what autism was, or what it looked like, and the assessment I had in hospital after my attempt (well, more a short conversation with a clinical psychologist in A&E) never really explored why or how I had got to that place.
Only recently in the BBC 2 documentary with Chris Packham were the shocking facts put out there to the public about the risk of suicide in autistic women.
The most recent academic research by (Cassidy et al, 2022) tells us that “whilst one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds, one at-risk group that is still largely overlooked when it comes to this crisis is autistic people.
This risk of death by suicide is even greater among autistic people without intellectual disabilities, and when we apply an intersectional lens the risks become even higher.
The greatest risk is among autistic women, who are 13 times more likely to die by suicide than women who are not autistic.”
Researchers are not entirely clear why autistic people are at increased risk of having suicidal thoughts and behaviours, though it’s likely a number of factors are at play, but maybe that lack of insight is because our experiences and insights as late discovered autistic women have never been heard.
This IWD2023 is all about ‘Embracing Equity’ and here at The Late Discovered Club we are using today to shine a light on the shocking inequity that exists for autistic women and women’s health.
We are committed to delivering our first Powering Progress Summit in September 2023, to co-incide with National Suicide Prevention week to put our voices, and an intersection of voices at the centre of the conversation, and this be an annual call to action, on a different theme each year.
We want to bring together our podcast guests, academics, our community members, health professionals, policy makers, government departments, MPs, and mental health organisations to hear our experiences and to take action.
The outcome being a call to action as to what we want to see in terms of preventative action around suicide.
If this is something you can help us with or support, please do email us.
Every Woman Matters.
And we need your help.