On Demand Grand Rounds: Issues around Mental Health among Adults with Autism

This presentation was originally reviewed on September 19, 2021, and broadcast live online on September 15, 2021, from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET. 

The views and opinions expressed by this presenter in this lecture are their own, and do not represent the views of Sheppard Pratt.

Autistic individuals face many life challenges.  These challenges impact upon them in diverse ways.  Not least of which include threats to individuals’ mental well-being.  These threats may manifest in a number of ways.  Notably including increased rates of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide.  In addition, the current climate of COVID19 restrictions and impacts upon freedoms.  Wellbeing research suggests that bulwarks to protect mental well-being include a strong connection to a significant other, or a relationship; sufficient resources and wealth to address the stressful issues that arise, or an income; and a sense of purpose and utility to the social good, or a job where your work is valued and useful.  Our research shows that for autistic people establishing relationships is fraught with difficulty.  Frequently, things go astray that lead to relationship failures.  Further, our research shows that obtaining meaningful and valued employment is very difficult.  Last, our research shows dangerously reduced levels of well-being among autistic individuals, and elevated suicidal ideation and planning.  This presentation will address our findings in these domains. 

Target Audience

This activity is intended for physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, counselors and other mental health professionals. 

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe the mental health effect of minority status within autism.
  2. Recognize autistic individuals want social and romantic connection to others, but have trouble executing this.
  3. Discuss why autistic people making threats to self-harm and commit suicide should be taken very seriously.  Hence, that on presentation of an individual undertaking these, a wise precaution is to screen for autism.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ACEP NBCC clock hours
  • 1.00 Category II credits for Social Workers
  • 1.00 Psychologists
  • 1.00 Participation
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Sheppard Pratt’s Professional Education Program is pleased to provide Wednesdays at Sheppard Pratt free of charge as a public service to the mental health community.  Your tax-deductible donations will help maintain the outstanding quality of this service.

Sheppard Pratt is dedicated to improving quality of life through mental health, special education, and addiction services for children, adolescents, adults and older adults.  Our patient-centered treatment approach, combined with our legacy of clinical excellence, sets us apart from other health systems on both a local and national level.  We have been ranked among the nation’s top psychiatric hospitals for 24 consecutive years by U. S. News &  World Report.  Founded in 1853 by philanthropist Moses Sheppard, Sheppard Pratt Health System still abides by its Quaker traditions and values.

Sheppard Pratt regularly hosts renowned speakers from across the country at our headquarters in Towson. We provide educational opportunities on subjects including psychiatric disorders, issues of behavioral health, systems-based change, mental and somatic co-morbidities, psychiatric effects on health and health outcomes, advances in neurobiology, and clinical developments in concepts underlying drug treatment of psychiatric disorders. We are accredited by the Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education, the Maryland Nurses’ Association, the Maryland Board of Psychology, the Maryland Board of Social Work, and the National Board of Certified Counselors.


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There is no commercial support for this activity.

About the speaker

Mark Stokes is an Associate Professor in Psychology at Deakin University and is a registered psychologist. Mark has been involved in Autism research since 1992; obtaining his PhD from La Trobe University in 1996. Mark has had appointments at La Trobe, Monash University, and Vanderbilt University.  Mark was Director of the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit at Monash University’s Accident Research Centre from 1999 to 2002.   In 2002 Mark was appointed to Deakin University where he established a research group - the Healthy Autistic Life Lab (HALL). HALL collaborates with numerous researchers globally and covers research programs into autism addressing Intersectionality in autism; Mental Health in Autism; Suicide in Autism; LGBTIQ+; sexuality; relationship development; the female profile of autism; mirror neurons in autism; and the transition to adulthood in autism. HALL seeks to understand how to support autistic adolescents and adults through the major transitions to adulthood, such as finding employment, finding a life partner, developing intimacy, to assist people to obtain a life that supports outcomes of mental health and positive well-being.  Mark has published over 150 peer reviewed publications, book chapters, and reports to government and more than 140 conference presentations.  Mark has supervised over 30 doctoral and PhD completions.  Mark has received over $3,000,000 in external grants related to his research.  Mark is a former President of Kidsafe Australia, a paediatric injury prevention charity.  Mark actively supports research into autism through his role as former President of the Australasian Society for Autism Research and as National Lead for Australia to INSAR.  

Disclosure Statements

Sheppard Pratt holds the standard that its continuing medical education programs should be free of commercial bias and conflict of interest. In accord with Sheppard Pratt's Disclosure Policy, as well as standards of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the American Medical Association (AMA), all planners, reviewers, speakers and persons in control of content have been asked to disclose any relationship he /she (or a partner or spouse) has with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients, during the past 12 months. All planners, reviewers and speakers have also been asked to disclose any payments accepted for this lecture from any entity besides Sheppard Pratt Health System, and if there will be discussion of any products, services or off-label uses of product(s) during this presentation.

Mark A. Stokes PhD, BBSc (Hons), CBS, MAPS, MCHP, MAAASreports that he has no relationships with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients, during the past 12 months. He will not discuss any products, services, or off-label uses in this presentation.

Event Planners/Reviewers Disclosures: The following event planners and/or reviewers are reported as having no financial interest, arrangement or affiliation with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients, during the past 12 months: Todd Peters, MD, Deepak Prabhakar, MD, Briana, Riemer, MD, Louis Marino, MD, Ehsan Syed, MD, Devi Bhuyan, PhD, Faith Dickerson, PhD, Carrie Etheridge, LCSW-C, Tom Flis, LCPC, Laura Webb, RN-BC, MSN, Bruce Boxer, PhD, MBA, MA, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, NEA-BC, MCHES, CPHQ, Stacey Garnett, RN, MSN, Heather Billings, RN, and Jennifer Tornabene.

Psychologist Statement: Sheppard Pratt is authorized by the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists as a sponsor of continuing education. Sheppard Pratt takes responsibility for the content, quality, and scientific integrity of this CME activity.  Sheppard Pratt designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.0 contact hours for Psychologists.

Social Worker Statement: Sheppard Pratt is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners of Maryland to offer continuing education for Social Workers.  Sheppard Pratt takes responsibility for the content, quality, and scientific integrity of this CME activity. This activity is approved for 1.0 contact hours in Category II credits for Social Workers.

Counselor Statement:  Sheppard Pratt has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5098.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  Sheppard Pratt is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.  This activity is available for 1.0 NBCC clock hours.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 ACEP NBCC clock hours
  • 1.00 Category II credits for Social Workers
  • 1.00 Psychologists
  • 1.00 Participation
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Grand Rounds: Issues Around Mental Health Among Adults with Autism

Mark A. Stokes, MD

Associate Professor, School of Psychology

Deakin University

President- Australasian Society for Autism Research ASfAR

Vice President- Kidsafe Australia

Burwood, Victoria Australia

Originally reviewed September 19, 2021.
Originally broadcast live September 15, 2021, from 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm EST
Enduring Activity Credit Expiration Date: April 14, 2026.

Activity Time: One hour recorded webinar lecture with a 15-minute evaluation process. Total Time: 1:15


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