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Mental Health, Suicide, and Autism

Mental Health, Suicide, and Autism

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Special discounted rates for educators in British Columbia. View details here.

Sponsored by

Provincial Outreach Program for Autism & Related Disorders

ACT’s 2024 Focus on Research Conference

Presented by Anne V. Kirby, PhD, OTR/L, Jessica Schwartzman, PhD, Lisa Morgan, M.Ed. CAS, Rachel Mosely, PhD, & Shari Jager-Hyman, PhD

Panel presentations moderated by Grace Iarocci, PhD & Elina Birmingham, PhD

Thursday, April 4 & Friday, April 5, 2024

Vancouver, B.C. & Web Streaming Live

Recording available for two weeks after the conference, for all registrants.

Research practitioners, which include Autistic Adults, will illustrate why we need to learn about mental health and suicide within the Autistic community. Learn the suicide risk factors and warning signs as well as practical strategies and resources to identify and support those in crisis.

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Sign in to use your 10% Friends of ACT Discount, or register here.

Tickets

The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking “Get Tickets” will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Web Stream Family Members, Autistic Adults, Students FOR24-WEB-FAM
Early-bird rate until March 1, $325 starting March 2
$ 275.00
Unlimited
Web Stream Professionals FOR24-WEB-PRO
Early-bird rate until March 1, $375 starting March 2
$ 325.00
Unlimited
In-Person Family Members, Autistic Adults, Students FOR24-VAN-FAM
Early-bird rate until March 1, $325 starting March 2
$ 275.00
In-Person Professionals FOR24-VAN-PRO
Early-bird rate until March 1, $375 starting March 2
$ 325.00

Event Details

Suicide is a leading cause of premature death in autistic people. Autistic individuals are significantly more likely to think about and attempt suicide than members of the general population. However, most mental health professionals do not feel confident about identifying suicide risk, particularly signs of acute risk (i.e., warning signs), and intervening when autistic individuals are in crisis.

In bringing Anne, Lisa, Rachel, Jessica, and Shari to Vancouver, our goal is to improve knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy related to recognizing risk factors and warning signs of suicide risk in Autistic individuals, and identifying appropriate crisis supports and resources for this population.

In this workshop, participants will learn:

  • From Autistic adults with lived experience
  • Why we need to talk about mental health and suicide in the Autistic community
  • The importance of reframing responsibilities and creating culturally safe clinical settings
  • Why school drop-out rates are high among autistic youth and what to do to address this issue
  • The functions of self-injury (i.e., the needs it fulfills, and that self-injury may be suicidal or non-suicidal)
  • About the research related to mental health needs that may be associated with suicide risk and the efficacy of adapted Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • About the Autism Resource “Warning Signs of Suicide: Considerations for the Autism Community
  • Next steps as family members, Autistic community members, and professionals

Anne V. Kirby, PhD, OTR/L

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Dr. Anne Kirby is an occupational therapist and researcher currently studying suicide prevention needs in the autistic community. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah in the Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies, with an adjunct role in the Department of Psychiatry and Huntsman Mental Health Institute. She is a principal investigator with the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE). She currently leads an NIH-funded research project in partnership with autistic community members in AASPIRE about suicide prevention for the autistic community. She has also conducted studies on other needs among the autistic community and their families, as well as suicide risk and prevention in other populations.

Jessica Schwartzman, PhD

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Dr. Jessica Schwartzman is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine of USC and Director of the Training and Research to Empower NeuroDiversity (TREND) Lab at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The TREND Lab investigates risks for adverse mental health outcomes in neurodivergent people and their families and partners with community members to develop treatments, with a new research line on mental health outcomes in neurodivergent Latino youth. Dr. Schwartzman is a sibling of an autistic young man with intellectual disability and passionate about participatory research that merges self-advocate, family, and provider perspectives to improve mental healthcare for neurodivergent people.

Lisa Morgan, M.Ed. CAS

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Lisa Morgan is a consultant specializing in crisis supports and suicide prevention for autistic people. Lisa is founder and co-chair of the Autism and Suicide Prevention Workgroup and has led the development of several autism specific resources for communicating and supporting autistic people in crisis.  A self-advocate with a passion for strengths-based solutions, Lisa has authored several books, articles, and resources all available on her website: www.autismcrisissupport.com. She is a community council member of AASET (Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engaged Together) a group of autistic adults participating in research. Lisa has a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching, is a Certified Autism Specialist, a peer reviewer of the online journal, Autism in Adulthood, and owner of Lisa Morgan Consulting LLC. She is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work degree. 

Rachel Mosely, PhD

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Dr Rachel Moseley completed her PhD in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, UK, and is now Principle Academic in Psychology at Bournemouth University. While her early work focused on brain function and connectivity, her research now centres on issues facing autistic adults, most notably mental ill-health and suicidality. Dr Moseley is herself autistic, and is passionate about participatory research, positive representation of neurodivergent people, and public engagement to increase acceptance and kindness around neurodiversity. 

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Shari Jager-Hyman, PhD

Shari Jager-Hyman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Broadly, Dr. Jager-Hyman studies the development and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for suicide prevention. In particular, Dr. Jager-Hyman focuses on tailored approaches to suicide prevention for autistic individuals developed in collaboration with autistic partners.

Moderators

April 4: Grace Iarocci, PhD

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Grace Iarocci, PhD is a Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, and the Director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab. A registered psychologist, Dr. Iarocci works closely with government and community agencies in BC to disseminate research information on ASD and influence policy on ASD and other developmental disabilities. Grace has a particular interest in researching quality of life issues among families living with ASD.

April 5: Elina Birmingham, PhD

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Elina Birmingham, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Educational Psychology area of the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She completed her PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of British Columbia in 2008, followed by postdoctoral fellowships at the California Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. The overarching goal of her research is to better understand and support children, youth and adults on the Autism Spectrum.

Day 1: Thursday, April 4, 2024

8:15 am – 9:00 am
 (In-person Only) Registration

9:00 am – 10:00 am
 Session 1 – Lisa Morgan & Anne Kirby

10:00 am – 10:15 am
 Morning Break

10:15 am – 11:15 am
 Session 2 – Jessica Schwartzman & Anne Kirby

11:15 am – 11:30 am
Morning Break 2

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
 Session 3 – Lisa Morgan & Rachel Moseley

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm
 Lunch

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
 Session 4 – Shari Jager-Hyman

2:15 pm – 2:30 pm
Afternoon Break

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
 Session 5 – Panel Period

Day 2: Friday, April 5, 2024

8:15 am – 9:00 am
 (In-person Only) Registration

9:00 am – 10:00 am
 Session 1 – Rachel Mosely

10:00 am – 10:15 am
 Morning Break

10:15 am – 11:15 am
 Session 2 – Jessica Schwartzman

11:15 am – 11:30 am
Morning Break 2

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
 Session 3 – Jessica Schwartzman, Lisa Morgan

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm
 Lunch

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
 Session 4 – Jessica Schwartzman, Lisa Morgan

2:15 pm – 2:30 pm
Afternoon Break

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Session 5 – Panel: Future of Research: Lisa Morgan, Shari Jager-Hyman, Anne Kirby, Rachel Mosely, Jessica Schwartzman

For in-person audience: Coffee and light snacks will be provided at registration and morning breaks.

Please bring/buy your own lunch.

Day 1

9:00 AM- 10:00 AM | Lisa Morgan & Anne Kirby

  • Experiences of an Autistic adult
  • Why we need to talk about mental health and suicide in the Autistic community
  • The emotional impact of support/lack of support (e.g., unintentional harm is still harm)

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM | Jessica Schwartzman & Anne Kirby

  • Research:
    • Anxiety and depression—what does this look like for Autistic people?
    • Mental health needs that may lead to suicide
    • 20-years of data and other population-based research

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Lisa Morgan & Rachel Moseley

  • Suicide and social connectedness – looking outside of the individual for causes of suicide
    • Culture and cultural competency in clinical settings
    • Creating a safe culture where people do not need to camouflage

1:15 PM- 2:15 PM | Shari Jager-Hyman

  • Qualitative experiences with autistic youth & why school drop-out rates are high
  • Autistic youth and adults: Partnership and process; and intervention: The Safety Planning Intervention

2:30 PM- 3:30 PM | Grace Iarocci, Moderator

Diverse perspectives speak to this morning’s content

Day 2

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM | Rachel Moseley

  • Awareness of the relationship between self-injury and suicide risk, and some of the common threads which may link the two – like psychopathology and emotional dysregulation
  • Understanding self-injury which can be suicidal or non-suicidal
  • Understanding the functions of self-injury – the needs it fulfills

10:15 AM- 11:15 AM | Jessica Schwartzman

  • Lessons from a Neurodivergent Advisory Team
  • Adapted Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Autism

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Jessica Schwartzman, Anne Kirby, and Lisa Morgan

  • Autism suicide prevention working group and crisis supports
  • Warning Signs of Suicide: Considerations for the Autism Community
  • Scenarios

1:15 PM- 2:15 PM | Jessica Schwartzman, Anne Kirby, and Lisa Morgan

  • Continued from session 3

2:30 PM- 3:30 PM | Panel Presentation moderated by Elina Birmingham
Lisa Morgan, Anne Kirby, Shari Jager-Hyman, Rachel Moseley, and Jessica Schwartzman

  • What we know and bring in; general theory; where we need to go as a field, including personal experience.

Professionals

Early Bird Rate until March 1, 2024: $325

Regular rate starting March 2, 2024: $375

Family Members, Autistic Adults & Students

Early Bird Rate until March 1, 2024: $275

Regular rate starting March 2, 2024: $325

*Last day to register is March 28, 2024

Group Discounts

Registering 3 or more attendees at a time? Receive a 10% discount!

Educators Rate

Special rates for British Columbia educators. View details here.

Early Bird: $225; Regular Rate: $275

Friends of ACT Receive 10% Off

Join here to become a Friend of ACT. This FREE program keeps you up to date with all the latest events and resources from ACT, and provides a 10% discount on a single ticket for all events.

Bursaries

ACT wants to ensure equitable access to all of our events. Bursaries are available where registration cost is a barrier. Full bursaries are available for Indigenous people/people who work at organizations that support Indigenous people. You are encouraged to apply for bursaries as soon as possible as funds are limited.

Apply by completing ACT’s Bursary Form before March 25, 2024. If you identify as Indigenous, or work for an Indigenous organization, complete our Bursary Form for Indigenous Communities.

Donate to our bursary fund.

Autism Funding

If you wish to use your child’s Autism Funding to pay for your registration, ACT can invoice the Autism Funding Branch directly. If you are paying in advance to be reimbursed, you must contact the Autism Funding Branch for approval first.

For information on how to register with your Autism Funding, visit Workshop Registration Using Autism Funding.

Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre,  
Segal Rooms (Room 1400 – 1430)
515 West Hastings St, Vancouver, BC  

Click to view full map

This venue is readily accessible by public transit. Visit Translink.ca for directions and schedules for the West Coast Express, SkyTrain, SeaBus and bus routes. Please note that parking in downtown Vancouver is costly, but there are several parkades nearby.  

Please note ACT cannot accept responsibility for any expenses incurred by the participant from charges that involve travel, accommodations, or other costs related to attending an ACT event. These are the sole responsibility of the participant as well as all risks associated with non-refundable, non-changeable purchases. ACT strongly recommends that participants purchase cancellation insurance for travel, etc. where possible.  

ACT has negotiated preferred rates at four downtown Vancouver hotels near SFU Harbour Centre. Please visit this page for hotel details including links to directions.

Level: Beginner to Advanced

Focus: Mental health and suicide risk in the Autistic population

For: Parents/caregivers/family members, Autistic youth and adults, friends of Autistic youth and adults, and professionals including educators, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, behaviour analysts, health care providers, and first responders (e.g., Ambulance Attendants, Fire Fighters).

Autism Specific?: Yes

CART captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided at the event.