Name: Callie Lewis.
Died: August 31, 2018.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Suicide/Neglect.
Location: Cumbria, England, UK.
Callie’s mother describes her daughter as “a spirited, determined, and exceptionally intelligent young woman”.
Callie had depression and had been suicidal. The NHS staff handling her case had no idea how to help an autistic person. They did not attempt to stay in touch with her, nor to maintain her care when a staff member went on sick leave. She was sectioned and hospitalized, but then discharged even though she was still suicidal. Two weeks after the discharge, Callie–who had been researching suicide methods online–was found dead from suicide.
Autistic people who have depression often have trouble maintaining contact with mental health services. For autistic people, initiating contact with a psychologist who is most likely a compete stranger can be daunting, and more so when their concentration and motivation are being sapped by depression. When an appointment is missed–which they often are, because with autism it can be hard to break a routine or leave a predictable environment–it is hard to navigate the social situations involved in making another. If mental health services do not know this about autistic people and do not offer services like appointment reminders, predictable appointment schedules, and home visits, they risk losing track of these patients and losing them to suicide. –Editor
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