For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Carley Dummitt, Marketing & Community Outreach Coordinator
Autism Foundation of Oklahoma Partners with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to Make 988 Mobile Crisis Units Sensory-Friendly
[Oklahoma, City, OK] – The Autism Foundation of Oklahoma (AFO) is proud to announce its partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) to make their 988 mobile crisis units sensory-friendly. With help from a national grant, ODMHSAS has ordered 60 sensory kits for each mobile crisis unit in the state. Additionally, AFO will provide training and technical assistance to ensure that crisis responders are equipped to provide appropriate support for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Research indicates that autistic individuals without an intellectual disability are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, and those with an intellectual disability have double the risk. Most alarming, one in five females with autism and ADHD have attempted suicide at least once. These statistics, in conjunction with the CDC’s newest prevalence of 1 in 36 children in the U.S. being on the autism spectrum, demonstrate the need for tailored outreach and services for this population.
“By making their mobile crisis units sensory-friendly, ODMHSAS is taking an important step towards providing appropriate care for individuals on the autism spectrum during a mental health crisis. AFO is honored to support this effort and applauds Commission Carrie Slatton- Hodges for her forward thinking to improve mental health outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum,” said Emily Scott, Executive Director of the Autism Foundation of Oklahoma.
Dr. Crystal Hernandez, ODMHSAS facility Executive Director and national autism expert, states, “Today is yet another moment marking the shift in how we address mental health for our autistic community with co-occurring conditions. I am incredibly proud of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ efforts, serving as a leader in integrating care for all needing mental health support and services. With alarming rates of suicide and mental health crisis, we must continue to step forward and serve.”
The Autism Foundation of Oklahoma’s mission is to improve the quality of life for Oklahomans with autism and their families. AFO’s programs provide education, advocacy, professional development, and individual and family support for Oklahoma’s autism community. To learn more, visit www.autismfoundationok.org.