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Be Well, Think Well Resources

Mental Health Resources

Welcome to the mental health resource collection created by the ASERT Collaborative. This page features a collection of mental health resources developed by the ASERT team. These resources are designed to help people understand the mental health challenges experienced by individuals with autism.

Mental health problems impact the way that people think, feel, and behave. These mental health problems can affect functioning for people diagnosed with autism even more. Therefore, we have created a variety of resources that can help a variety of people understand the impact of mental health problems for individuals with autism. We have developed resources specifically for self-advocates with autism, parents and caregivers, first responders, and professionals.

Information about general mental health treatment is followed by specific information about different mental health disorders.

Mental Health Topics

General Mental Health

General Treatments for Mental Health Conditions

These resources provide general information to parents/caregivers, self-advocates, and support staff about:

  • the use of medications and different therapies to treat mental health conditions,
  • how to prepare for medication management appointments,
  • behavioral health managed care organizations, and
  • other types of intensive psychological treatments.

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General Medication Management

These resources provide information for self-advocates about:

  • how to prepare for medication management appointments, and
  • general information about how long someone may need to take medications.

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Anxiety

An Overview of Anxiety

These resources provide a general overview of anxiety for self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff including information about:

  • what anxiety is,
  • signs and symptoms of anxiety,
  • differences between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and autism, and
  • what panic attacks look and feel like.

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Services and Treatments for Anxiety

These resources provide information for self-advocates, parents/caregivers and support staff about:

  • managing anxiety,
  • tips on how to face fears,
  • various types of therapies for anxiety,
  • different relaxation techniques,
  • medication for treating anxiety and depression, and
  • ways to find a therapist.

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Supporting Individuals with Autism and Anxiety

These resources provide information for parents/caregivers and support staff about:

  • supporting individuals with anxiety and autism through panic attacks, and
  • various relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and grounding techniques.

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Depression

Overview of Depression

These resources provide information for self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff about:

  • recognizing depression,
  • signs and symptoms of depression in individuals with autism,
  • diagnosing anxiety and depression in individuals with autism, and
  • the difference between signs of depression and symptoms of autism.

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Services and Treatments for Depression

These resources provide information for self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff about:

  • managing depression,
  • strategies for working with individuals who have autism and depression,
  • common types of therapy for depression,
  • medications for depression and anxiety, and
  • how to find a therapist.

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Supporting Individuals with Autism and Depression

These resources provide information for parents/caregivers and support staff about:

  • managing depression,
  • teaching out to get help,
  • teaching ways to advocate for themselves,
  • developing healthy habits,
  • supporting them to develop relationships, and
  • supporting indivdiuals who may be suicidal.

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Bipolar Disorders

Overview of Bipolar Disorder

These resources provide self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff about:

  • what is depression for bipolar disorder,
  • what is mania, and
  • bipolar disorder and autism.

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Services and Treatments for Bipolar Disorders

These resources provide information for self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff about:

  • medication,
  • psychotherapy,
  • case management,
  • peer support, and
  • hospitalizations.

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Supporting Individuals with Autism and Bipolar

These resources provide information for parents/caregivers and support staff about:

  • developing therapeutic relationships.

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Psychotic Disorders

Overview of Psychotic Disorders

These resources provide self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff information about:

  • psychotic disorders,
  • who can diagnose, and
  • recognizing psychotic disorders.

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Services and Treatments for Psychotic Disorders

These resources provide self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff information about:

  • medication,
  • therapy,
  • casemanagement,
  • peer support, and
  • hospitalization.

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Supporting Individuals with Autism and Psychotic Disorders

These resources provide information to parents/caregivers and support staff about:

  • relationship building,
  • managing delusions, and
  • addressing feelings.

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Special Topics

These resources focus on a range of special topics related to mental health.

Mental Health in Emergency Situations

These resources provide information to self-advocates and emergency personnel about:

  • helping a first responders manage a crisis with individuals with autism and serious mental illness,
  • identify reasons individuals may be anxious in an emergency and how to help reduce that anxiety, and
  • examples of concrete language that first responders can use when interacting with individuals in an emergency situation.

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Suicide Resources

These resources provide self-advocates, parents/caregivers, and support staff information about:

  • what are suicidal thoughts and how to manage them,
  • risk and protective factors for suicide, and
  • information on what to do if someone has thoughts of suicide.

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Social Stories

Anxiety and Depression

Be Well, Think Well: Depression Social Stories

These social stories provide a visual explanation of depression, including what it is, how to manage, and how to support a loved one who may be experiencing depression.

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Be Well, Think Well: Recognizing and Managing Anxiety Social Stories

These social stories provide a simple visual explanation of what anxiety is, and ways to help manage anxiety.

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Crisis Situations

Be Well, Think Well: Emergency Room for Mental Health Social Stories

This series of social stories provides visual guides on what it is like to go to the ER or an inpatient psychiatric mental hospital for a mental health crisis. The social stories are also available in short, animated videos.

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Be Well, Think Well: Calling Crisis Intervention Social Story

This social story provides a simple visual explanation of when you may need to call crisis intervention, and what to expect if you do.

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Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation Technique Social Stories

This collection of social stories developed by ASERT provides instructions and visuals on how to use relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing, and grounding.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.