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Theme Resources: Autism Mental Health

May 3rd, 2021

Mental health conditions are not exclusive to the autism spectrum, but autistic children, youth, and adults are more likely to have co-occurring mental health conditions. The pandemic has highlighted the need for more information, resources, and supports for the autism community.

Due to a range of biological and/or environmental factors, many autistic people face conditions such as Depression, General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), ADHD/ADD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Executive Dysfunction (ED), Schizophrenia, and Tourette’s. Autistic individuals can receive their mental health diagnoses along with their autism diagnosis. 

On the contrary, many adults can be misdiagnosed with a mental health condition at a younger age and learn later on in life that they are actually autistic. When the mental health diagnosis they received does not entirely match up with the overall picture of their experiences, many decide to pursue an autism assessment as an adult. In BC, Psychiatrists typically recommend an autism assessment as a result of counselling/therapy when they notice autistic traits in their patients. 

 

“Mental health conditions are not exclusive to the autism spectrum, but autistic children, youth, and adults are more likely to have co-occurring mental health conditions.”

 

Considering the bias and challenges that many Autistic people face, it is best to approach treatment with inclusivity of all conditions (i.e. mental health and autism). Mental Health treatment options can vary based on individual needs and available services in their province or region. Work closely with your family doctor, pediatrician, psychologist/psychiatrist, and/or counsellor and reach out to regional supports. We have divided the list below into categories to help you find the resources that best suit your current needs.

Awareness & Co-Occurring Conditions

Anxiety Canada — “Anxiety Canada is a leader in developing free online, self-help, and evidence-based resources on anxiety” (Anxiety Canada, n.d.).

Autism BC Staff Sharing — Lisa’s Mental Health Journey

Mental Health – Children, Youth & Adults

Child & Youth Mental Health“The Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) teams located across B.C. provides a range of mental health assessment and treatment options for children and youth (0-18 years of age) and their families at no cost. Our clinics are staffed by mental health clinicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists” (Government of BC, 2022).

Mental Health Literacy Guide for Autism – “The Mental Health Literacy Guide for Autism is meant for Autistic adults, family members, professionals, policy-makers & leaders. The goal of the guide is to provide knowledge about the factors that can impact Autistic mental health. It highlights how context & individual experiences play roles one’s mental health, and how societal acceptance and appreciation of autism is critical for the better support and well-being of Autistic adults. Twenty-nine Autistic adults and family members across Canada were consulted on content, format, and overall design. Ultimately, the guide was based upon the lived experiences of our Autistic advisors and on understanding their priorities.”(2022)

Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre — “The Maples is an accredited facility that offers specialized programs and services to address the needs of young people (12 to 17 years old) who have a lot of mental health concerns or troubling behaviour” (Government of BC, 2021).

Kelty Mental Health — BC Children’s  — “[Kelty] supports families across BC navigate the mental health system, offering peer support, resources and tools” (Kelty Mental Health, 2022)

A Mindful Approach to Parenting & Caregiving | Kelty Mental Health – Podcast: Discuss how mindfulness can support your overall well-being and help during common stressors that parents experience (Kelty Mental Health, 2022)

Compass Mental Health — BC Children’s  — “A province-wide service that supports evidence-based care to all BC children and youth (0-25) living with mental health and substance use concerns” (BC Children’s Hospital, 2022).

CAPSU – Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit – Surrey Memorial Hospital The Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit (CAPSU) is a short stay unit for children and youth (ages six – 17) who need mental health crisis stabilization for two to seven days,” (Fraser Health, 2022).  

Kids Help Phone — 1-800-668-6868. Children and teens can call to speak to a counsellor 24/7.

Family Smart — An organization that supports parents/caregivers of children/youth dealing with mental health challenges. For support, connect with a Parent in Residence [email protected] or at 1 (855) 887-8004.

The Foundry — “A province-wide network of integrated health and social service centres for young people ages 12-24. Foundry centres provide a one-stop-shop for young people to access mental health care, substance use services, primary care, social services and youth and family peer supports” (The Foundry, n.d.).

Provincial Assessment Centre — “The Provincial Assessment Centre (PAC) is mandated to provide multi-disciplinary mental health services for referred individuals ages 14 and up with a developmental disability and a concurrent mental illness or behaviour issue. PAC is a part of Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) and is designated as a tertiary care mental health service under the Mental Health Act” (CLBC, 2018).

Youth in BC — “A program of the Crisis Centre.  It connects youth with support, information and resources” (Youth in BC, 2013).”

DDMH – Developmental Disabilities Mental Health — Contact your Health Authority if you have a child that is 14-years-old or older and has a developmental disability.

BC Children’s Hospital – Mental Health Services – “Provide psychiatric assessment, short-term individual, family and group treatment, and medication review” (BC Children’s Hospital, 2021).

BC Children’s Hospital Child Life Department – “Certified Child Life Specialists at BC Children’s Hospital make hospitalization a more positive experience for patients through play, therapeutic interventions, preparation, and creative arts” (Provincial Health Services Authority, 2022).

BC Children’s Hospital Indigenous Patient Navigator – “We advocate for and provide help to Indigenous families who are visiting the hospital” (Provincial Health Services Authority, 2022).

Counselling BC — “Our mission is to provide you with the best online information resource in British Columbia regarding counselling, psychological services, art therapy and psychotherapy” (Counselling BC, 2022).

Stigma-Free Society — Mental Health Tools for All Ages, aiming to “Create a World without Stigma” (Stigma-Free Society, 2021).

Mental Health and Autism Project — Video series featuring keynote speakers discussing various mental health topics, including selective mutism, anxiety, OCD (ACT, 2021).

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)With 330 community locations, CMHA is a nationwide organization that promotes mental health and supports people recovering from mental illness” CMHA, 2022).  

Mind Health BC — “MindHealthBC is a one-stop-shop that gathers the wealth of evidence-based resources available in your community and combines them into one easy-to-use website” (Mind Health BC, 2017).

Crisis Line Association of BC — “The Crisis Line Association of BC (CLABC) is the provincial association representing member crisis lines across BC. The organization is dedicated to ensuring that every person in BC has access to the needed emotional support and critical services that crisis lines provide.  With this in mind, CLABC developed two provincial networks: 1-800-SUICIDE and 310Mental Health Support. The networks enhance immediate access to 24-hour crisis line services for anyone at any time from anywhere in BC” (Crisis Line Association of BC, n.d.).

Here to Help BCWe are a group of seven leading mental health and substance use non-profit agencies. Since 2003, we’ve been working together to help people live well and better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems” (Here to Help, 2022). 

Bounce Back BC — “BounceBack® is a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered online or over the phone with a coach, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness” (Bounce Back BC, 2019).

Wellness Together Canada Wellness Together Canada is designed to be used on demand: you get to choose what you need, when you need it. Our services range from basic wellness information, to one-on-one sessions with a counsellor, to participating in a community of support. Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’re here to point you towards the best resources out there” (Wellness Together Canada, 2021). 
                    Phone Counselling – Available 24/7 – 1-866-585-0455 

Phare Counselling – “We match people seeking help with qualified counsellors.  No long wait list, no tedious processes, no barriers – because, well, that’s how counselling should work.  At Phare we offer pay what feels fair and pay it forward rates.  Together, we want to make mental health more accessible, more inclusive and more fair” (Phare, 2021).  

BC’s Hub for Workplace Mental Health

Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health & Addiction – For Adults (Burnaby)

Pivot Point Mental Health Services   Pivot Point offers a wide range of Counselling and Mental Health services for young children, teens and adults, as well as for couples and families. Our services can ‘stand alone’, or they can be fully integrated into other Pivot Point services for individuals or families” (Pivot Point, 2022).  

Supporting Autistic Mental Health in the Workplace  – CAN and Autism Nova Scotia

Autistic Burnout Discussion  – AIDE CANADA 2022

 

Self-Care

Self-Care for Moms with Tammy Thielman  — This interview was filmed around Mother’s Day and self-care for moms; however, it applies to any caregiver (Autism BC, May 2020).

Self-Care for Autistic Children & Teens with Colleen Fuller  — Everyone needs to take care of themselves, across all ages.  Do you know what you can do to help your child or teen on the spectrum to practice self-care? (Autism BC, May 2020)

Staff Sharing: Self-Care as an Autism Parent — A blog written by Lindy, our Information Officer, about her lived experiences being a caregiver to both her son and her parents and how she had to prioritize self-care to keep her whole family healthy (Autism BC, May 1, 2020).

Staff Sharing: It’s Okay to be Selfish Sometimes — A blog written by Lisa, our Interior Regional Coordinator, about why it is important to put yourself first sometimes to maintain good mental health (Autism BC, May 14, 2020).

The Invisible Caregiver – Video produced by Mare McHale for a university project.  Gives exposure to the invisible caregivers in our society.   She interviews two other caregivers about their experiences, concerns and what they want society to know (2022).  

Autism BC Talks: The Mental Health Literacy Guide for Autism – Video with Jonathan Weiss (2022) 


Indigenous Resources
 

Compass Mental Health — BC Children’s  — “A province-wide service that supports evidence-based care to all BC children and youth (0-25) living with mental health and substance use concerns.  Over the coming months, Compass is working on an outreach program specifically for Indigenous community care providers to raise awareness for Compass’ services through gift-giving for nations and organizations, as well as education and promotions.” (BC Children’s Hospital, 2022). 

BC Children’s Hospital Indigenous Patient Navigator – “We advocate for and provide help to Indigenous families who are visiting the hospital” (Provincial Health Services Authority, 2022). 

Metis Crisis Line — 1-833-METIS-BC (1-833-638-4722)  

First Nations Health Authority – Mental Health and Wellness Support  

Prince George Native Friendship Centre “Supportive counselling and assessment is flexible, available in an outreach format, and incorporates Indigenous healing” (NHA & Prince George Native Friendship Centre, 2011).  

Carrier Sekani Family Services (North Central) — “Counselling program accepts anyone through the policy of “every door is the right door”, free of charge” (Carrier Sekani Family Services, 2022).  

Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society (Houston) — “Mental health counselling and supports in Houston for individuals, couples, and families who want a third party for support, coping, and problem-solving” (Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, n.d). 

 

Region-Specific Resources
North

Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH)Our mental health services are voluntary and are designed to support children and youth who experience significant difficulties related to their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We have ministry, delegated and contracted teams in B.C. whose focus is working with Indigenous children and youth, as well as teams and contracts that provide specialized services. 

  •  Telehealth Outreach Psychiatry Service (TOPS) BC Children’s Hospital, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Northern Health are in a collaborative work partnership for the Telehealth Outreach Psychiatry Service (TOPS). TOPS provides psychiatric consults to 16 communities in northern BC by connecting a psychiatrist located in Vancouver to a remote child and youth mental health team, via telehealth (videoconferencing) technology. Contact your local CYMH in-take office to learn more about this program.  

Prince George Native Friendship Centre — “Supportive counselling and assessment is flexible, available in an outreach format, and incorporates Indigenous healing” (NHA & Prince George Native Friendship Centre, 2011). 

Carrier Sekani Family Services (North Central) — “Counselling program accepts anyone through the policy of “every door is the right door”, free of charge” (Carrier Sekani Family Services, 2022).

Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society (Houston) — “Mental health counselling and supports in Houston for individuals, couples, and families who want a third party for support, coping, and problem-solving” (Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, n.d.).

Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre — “Offers counselling services to people who may have difficulty accessing other counselling in the community” (Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre, n.d.)

Mackenzie Counselling Services:: Home Child and Youth Mental Health Services

Crisis Prevention, Intervention & Information Centre for Northern BC (Northern BC Crisis Centre, 2022).  

North Coast Transition Society

  • NCTS offers family counselling for individuals, couples, and families.
  • NCTS provides support and advocacy for families. Assistance with paperwork and accompaniment to appointments may be available.

Northwest Inter-Nation Family and Community Services — NIFCS offers an Aboriginal family counsellor and other family support programs.

Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert — This service offers confidential meetings, referrals, advocacy and workshops to individuals expressing an interest in a quest for personal healing.

 

Interior

Westbank First Nation — “Our health and wellness programs aim to promote physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and healing. Healthy families create healthy communities. Unless otherwise noted, programs and services are offered at the WFN Health & Wellness Building” (Westbank First Nation, 2022).

UBCO Psychology ClinicThe UBC Psychology Clinic is an outpatient mental health and state-of-the-art training clinic. Our team of professionals are dedicated to excellence in the assessment, treatment, research and training of clinical psychology” (UBC, n.d).

Third Space Charity – “[We] provide free supportive care counseling for students or young adults, online or in person, six days a week” (Third Space Charity, 2022).

CMHA Kelowna – “CMHA Kelowna is offering virtual counselling services to adults ages 25+, weekdays during the afternoon (excluding holidays). This service is available free of charge to individuals, couples, families, and caregivers of youth who are struggling.” (CMHA, 2022). 

Mamas for Mamas Psychoeducational Groups – Groups include Anxiety and Depression, Whole Mama, Young Mama and Grief & Loss Support Group  

Island

Centralized Access and Rapid Engagement Service (CARES) — “Centralized Access and Rapid Engagement Service (CARES) provides screening, assessment, treatment recommendations and referrals to Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use and external community programs in the Victoria area” (Island Health, 2021).

UVIC Psychology Clinic — “The UVIC Psychology Clinic is an outpatient mental health and state-of-the-art training clinic. Our team of professionals are dedicated to excellence in the assessment, treatment, research and training of clinical psychology” (UVIC, n.d.).

Ledger House Victoria — “The Ledger Program is an island-wide resource that provides acute, in-patient, hospital-based psychiatric services for children and youth-serving all Island Health children, youth and families.  We provide stabilization, assessment, treatment planning and short-term interventions for children and youth aged 6 to 16 (Island Health, 2022).

Anscomb Outpatient Services: – The Anscomb Program is to support children, youth and their families by evaluating and planning treatment for significant emotional, behavioural, psychological and psychiatric symptoms in order to increase the mental health and functioning of children and youth at home, at school and within their home community (Island Health, 2022).

Third Space Charity – “provide free supportive care counselling for students or young adults, online or in person, 6 days a week” (Third Space Charity, 2022)

Lower Mainland

UBC Psychology Clinic — “The UBC Psychology Clinic is an outpatient mental health and state-of-the-art training clinic. Our team of professionals are dedicated to excellence in the assessment, treatment, research and training of clinical psychology” (UBC, n.d.).

SFU Psychology Clinic — “The Clinical Psychology Centre (CPC) is an outpatient mental health clinic and training centre that is part of the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University (SFU, n.d).

Other Resources

Supporting Autistic Adults with Mental Health Challenges – AutismBC Resource Blog

The Wellness Society — “Practical, fluff-free and beautifully designed self-help, therapy and coaching tools” (The Wellness Society, 2018).

Metis Crisis Line — 1-833-METIS-BC (1-833-638-4722)

Mood Disorder Association of British Columbia

First Nations Health Authority – Mental Health and Wellness Support

Pandemic Mental Health Crunch Leads for Calls to Changes to BC’s Already “Broken” System (2022)

Promoting Better Mental Health Animated Video (Aide Canada, 2022) – short 5 minute video explaining mental health and provides some resources. 

How Medication Works Animated Video (Aide Canada, 2022) – short 5 minute video explaining how medication works, uses simple language.

Books

We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation by Eric Garcia

Burnout by Emily Nagoski

 

 

Do you know of a mental health resource that should be included on this list? Please let us know here!

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