Mental Health Awareness Week 2022
It is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week this week and theme this year loneliness.
We can all feel alone sometimes, even when we are around other people. Longer-term loneliness can contribute to mental health conditions including anxiety and depression – making it difficult to connect with others. As a lot of services became accessible online throughout the lockdowns, it has become easier to connect with one another – as well as get access to mental health support.
A recent study by Boots that explores the changing attitudes of accessing mental healthcare online shows four in five patients (82%) would consider using digital services for mental health while 70% would prefer to talk to a doctor about their mental health or access therapy (72%) virtually rather than in person.
The number of adults experiencing depression and anxiety is still up on pre-pandemic levels, with an estimated 1.6 million3 people waiting to access mental health support on the NHS.
Unlike many physical illnesses, mental health issues cannot always be seen. Indicators that someone is suffering from mental health issues could include feeling sad or down for lengthy periods, withdrawal from friends, family and social activities, and feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Studies have found that increased loneliness in adults with autistic spectrum conditions is associated with increased depression and anxiety, and decreased life satisfaction and self-esteem, even when controlling for symptoms of autism.
Therefore, it is a vital area that needs to be addressed when considering how to improve the daily lives of adults on the autistic spectrum.
During this week we will be sharing articles from autistic individuals sharing their experiences.