Forum: Support mental health of the autistic so they too can contribute to society

I refer to Mr Eric Chen Yixiong's letter (Tailor mental health support to those with autism, Oct 13). Autistic individuals with low support needs need not be liabilities in society.

Investing in their mental wellness empowers them to be inspiring role models and productive contributors, economically and socially.

Conversely, ignoring their needs makes these lonely and traumatised people perfect victims of cheaters or exploiters, when social isolation and emotional instability mix with gullibility, desperation to fit in and inability to understand intent.

As the co-founder of the largest autistic-led autism community in Singapore, I strongly urge the authorities to act urgently and swiftly before any serious tragedies occur.

We need to research and cater specifically to these individuals' unique needs. For example, many of them experience far more bullying and abuse at home, school and work than non-autistic individuals.

Based on my lived experiences with both autism and mental illness, psychotherapy sessions should be weekly instead of monthly. This prevents a vicious circle of worsening mental health resulting in costly future intervention.

Providing funding and coaching support for autistic-led communities is also a low-cost way to complement professional mental health services.

Wesley Loh