Mental Health Week: May 7-13, 2018

This May 7-13 is the 67th CMHA Mental Health Week.

Since 1951, CMHA Mental Health Week has been raising awareness to end stigma associated with mental illness. In a sense, Mental Health Week has been a “mental illness awareness week.” This year, it goes even deeper. It goes to the very heart of what mental health really is.

Like physical health, mental health is something we all have.

Many of us know the statistic that 1 in 5 Canadians has a mental health issue every year. But that’s not the whole story. Every one of us, all 5 in 5, have mental health whether or not you have a mental health “issue.”

Individuals with autism experience a number of life stressors including social confusion, peer rejection, difficulties understanding and expressing emotions, sensory processing issues, and difficulties related to restricted interests and/or repetitive behaviours. This can result in challenging behaviors, and individuals may be more prone to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders.

For more information on steps you can take if you or your child with autism are experiencing mental health issues see our Mental Health Tip Sheet, and the ASD Mental Health Blog created by Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research and his team at York University.

Sometimes challenging behaviors are related to mental health issues, and sometimes not.  Understanding why an individual may engage in certain behaviors requires requires exploration into the possible underlying causes as well as the consequences of the behavior.  For more information on strategies and supports available to address behavioral issues, see Autism Speaks’ Challenging Behaviors Toolkit.

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