Name: Sara Elizabeth Lincoln.
Died: January 4, 2019.
Age at death: 25.
Cause of death: Suicide/Neglect (Denied autism assessment).
Location: Richmond, North Yorkshire, England, UK.
23-year-old Sara had an alcohol and drug problem that had been getting worse ever since she left home at age 20. She suffered from intense anxiety, which she tried to quell by using drugs; but her drug use spiraled out of control.
Her worried mother saw that she had all the traits of autism–instead of interacting with people, she would try to guess what they wanted to hear and say that. She tried to get the NHS to give her daughter an autism assessment, explaining what she suspected and that she worried that her daughter might be at high risk for suicide. But the doctors ignored her, insisted that Sara had “anxiety and social anxiety”, and did not send her for an assessment.
Sara took her own life at the age of 25.
Editor’s note: We may never know for sure whether Sara had autism, but her behavior is not unusual for a young autistic woman with social anxiety. Her treatment-resistant anxiety and her mother’s observations should have prompted her doctors to at least look into the possibility that she might be on the spectrum; however, like many autistic young women, Sara did not fit the stereotype of autism, and so the professionals did not believe she could possibly have autism. Had she had proper support, she might still have committed suicide–but then again, she might not have. Her odds would, in any case, have been better.