Persons with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder also die by suicide. But tools are available to help prevent it.
This website presents key information and clinical tools to contribute to suicide prevention with persons living with an intellectual disability (ID) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to raise awareness, understand suicide risk in persons with an ID or ASD, screen for at-risk persons, manage a suicidal episode and reduce long-term suicide risk.
IDAS Process: A collection of clinical tools to support clinical process and interventions with people presenting intellectual disability (ID) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and displaying suicidal behaviours.
The IDAS process aims to support the clinical judgement of those working in suicide prevention and with people with ID or ASD and presenting suicidal behaviours (ideations, plans, attempts) and related manifestations (cognitive, emotional, psychiatric, behavioural, physiological, social).
The IDAS Process is intended for professionals working in the field of intellectual and developmental disability rehabilitation, in community organisations or in suicide prevention.
Main components of the IDAS Process
- Understanding Suicide Risk: Suicidality is a complex process that must be understood in order to intervene properly. The suicide-related manifestations (MAAS) are part of a dynamic process fueled by a person’s history, vulnerabilities, current situation and a cognitive and interactional construction of suicidality. This model of suicidal behavior underlies the whole IDAS Process and all clinical tools.
- Screening / Identifying a person at risk: This first crucial step in suicide risk management aims to adequately screen a person experiencing distress and displaying suicidal behaviour in order to take them seriously and develop an intervention adapted to their needs. This screening is done by professionals, educators, teachers, or relatives that are in regular contact with the person and are in a position to note changes in behavior revealing the person’s distress.
- Managing the suicidal episode: Once a person has been identified as displaying suicide-related manifestations or behaviors, an in-depth analysis of the situation and danger assessment must be made. This assessment serves as the foundation for all subsequent interventions to ensure safety, reduce suicidal ideations, distress and the danger of suicidal behaviors. The management of a suicidal episode is done by professionals trained in using clinical tools.
- Reducing suicide risk: Once the suicidal episode is under control, it is important to understand how the suicidal process developed in the person (risk and protective factors present, as well as cognitive, emotional and interactional processes at play). Reducing suicide risk also involves intervening in the long term to reduce the risk of future suicide-related manifestations (MAAS) and suicidal behavior. The ai mis to increase the wellbeing and reduce the distress experienced by the person. The long-term suicide risk reduction is done by the multidisciplinary clinical team working with the person.
The IDAS Process cannot replace clinical judgement. It aims to support and complement it. It constitutes a framework for identifying relevant information and guide the clinical decision-making on the level of danger and on the adequate interventions to put in place.
Get the translated and updated version of the IDAS Process: Clinical Suicide Prevention Process with People Presenting an ID or ASD. A collection of clinical tools to support interventions with people presenting ID or ASD and displaying suicidal behaviours.