Could neurodiversity be a trigger for mental health problems, and are neurodivergent people more likely to suffer from mental health problems, and if so, why?
It is true that those people who are identified as being autistic are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than those who are not seen as being so far along the autistic scale. Of course, it must be recognised that neurodiversity is not in itself a mental illness, but simply the way in which different people’s brains work differently. However, there seems to be a link between neurodiversity and mental health, which is most-likely caused by societal factors and circumstance.
For the more neurodivergent among us, it can be stressful to try and ‘fit in’ to a world that seems to be at odds with your way of filtering it. Being sensitive to stimuli like loud working environments, difficulty in reading other people, and so forth can cause anxiety. Meanwhile, having difficulty fitting in or finding a suitable job can lead to depression among those with autism and other conditions.
However, this can be helped by taking some simple steps to recognise the needs of neurodiverse groups and acting to make changes to suit them in their day-to-day lives, whether that is studying or at work.
It is time that we accepted our differences and realised that they are not faults, but rather something that can add to the diversity of human life. It is our differences that should become our greatest strengths as we work together, using our various skills to support one-another.
Rather than alienating the neurodivergent sections of society in an ill-conceived bid to make everyone ‘normal’ we should be ready to understand that neurodiversity is not an illness to be cured, but rather a different way of thinking that we can appreciate and accept.
With more acceptance, understanding, and support we would surely see a drop in cases of anxiety and depression among the neurodiverse – which is surely a win-win situation for everyone involved.