Researchers Call for More Insight Concerning Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts For Those with Autism

Critical Life and Death Issue Overlooked for Decades

An editorial published this month in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders written by several leading autism researchers requests further exploration into the field of self harm and suicidal thoughts in individuals with autism. The editorial’s authors indicate that until recently this heartbreaking topic has received very little investigation. For instance, the team mention that little is known whether the function of self-harming behaviors are intended to end one’s life or whether self-harm increases the possibility of a subsequent suicide. The authors identified additional research gaps including: personalized interventions, identifying help seeking behaviors and suicide safety planning for clinicians. The researchers call for incorporating individuals with autism to help develop high-quality, useful and ethical research in order to understand the best ways to assess self-harm, suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well as identifying risk factors.

Original Editorial

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