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MHAutism is a research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The research team are part of the Atypical Development Research Group within the Centre of Research for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement, at Coventry University, UK.

We want to find out more about mental health in autism because there is not a lot of information or support available for adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) who experience mental health problems, self-injury, or thoughts about ending their life.

Early research from our group showed that 66% of people diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in adulthood said they had considered suicide, 32% had planned or attempted to die by suicide, and 35% had depression.

We are undertaking an ambitious 3-year research project, which will develop new tools to assess depression and suicide risk in adults with ASC, and establish how many autistic adults experience these difficulties in the UK. To date, we have developed two new tools; a Guide for GPs and a Safety Plan.

All our research is informed in partnership with the autism community. We have a steering group of autistic adults who have experienced mental health difficulties, who are helping us design an online survey. This will help us understand why adults with ASC experience these difficulties, and what support they need.

We want to give autistic people and their families a voice in our research and improving mental health outcomes. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about becoming one of our mental health champions.

Our research is also made possible by the support of a number of partners, including the Autism Research Centre, University of Cambridge, the National Autistic Society, and Autistica. Further information about our research team and partners can be found below.


Our Team:

Dr. Sarah Cassidy – Theme Lead

Dr. Rebecca Shaw – Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Louise Bradley – Research Assistant

Current students:

Katherine Cook – PhD Student

Louise Camm-Crosbie – MSc Student

Paula Mourelle Calvo – MSc Student

Previous students:

Mirabel Pelton – MSc Student

James Rowland – MSc Student


Our Partners:


Cambridge University Autism Research Centre (ARC) brings together world-leading researchers that seek to understand the biomedical causes of ASC, and develop new and validated methods for assessment and intervention.


nas-logoNational Autistic Society We are the leading UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and their families. We provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for autistic people.


autisticalogoAutistica is a charity which funds medical research to understand the causes of autism, improve diagnosis, and develop new treatments and interventions. Our Vision is for a brighter future for people with autism and their families, where advanced scientific understanding of autism means that evidence-based interventions are readily available, diagnosis is early, and causes are properly understood.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) NIHR

Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research & Care East of England