Safety plans to reduce self-harm and suicide for autistic adults

Suicide is much more common in adults who have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder than it is for people without this diagnosis, with some research indicating that autistic people are around nine times more likely to die by suicide than non-autistic people.

The available evidence shows that 66% of autistic adults have considered suicide, this is much higher than the UK general population where the rate is about 17%. In addition suicide is a leading cause of premature death for autistic people. Although autistic people are at increased risk of suicide, no research has yet explored the development of suicide prevention strategies. Research in to other types of mental health difficulties such as anxiety and depression indicates that autistic people require adaptations to be made to standard treatments to make then accessible and meaningful.

This research project will evaluate how acceptable and feasible an adapted version of a well-established suicide prevention strategy (Safety Plans) are for use with autistic adults with a history of self-harm, suicidal thoughts or suicidal behaviours.