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Understanding Neuroinclusivity: A Missing Piece of MH Conversations

October 4 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Understanding neuroinclusivity is a missing piece of suicide prevention.

Post-Symposium Webinar – Open To All Wednesday, October 4, 2023 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm.

Understanding Neuroinclusivity: A Missing Piece of Mental Health Conversations

At least 1 in 5 people thinks, learns and/or communicates differently than the so-called “typical” brain. Neurodivergent people experience higher rates of untreated health problems, substance use, social isolation, unemployment. Autistic and ADHD adults have higher rates of suicide. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for autistic adults, who have an average life expectancy of 36-54 years. 72% of autistic adults experience suicidal ideation. Autistic adults have a 4-9 times increased risk of completed suicide.

This presentation will describe the research on neurodivergent patients and suicide, including specific risk factors, outcomes, and barriers to accessing support. Research shows that suicide risk is highest in autistic adults with lower support needs, and that masking/camouflaging is an independent risk factor for suicide.

We will then further discuss neurodivergent patients’ barriers to accessing healthcare (medical and mental health) and data on the current health inequity experienced by this population. Approximately 80% of autistic adults experience difficulty accessing healthcare, and 70% have untreated physical and mental health problems. Barriers to access include environmental, communication, provider knowledge gaps, and systemic aspects.

We will then describe what healthcare professionals, employers, and the community need to know about the brain science of mental health: nervous system regulation, sensory processing, executive functioning, communication and practical aspects of promoting inclusion for neurodivergent people.

Neurodiversity and access are generally missing from the community conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As these topics become more commonly discussed, we have every reason to be optimistic that we in Vermont can do better at expanding access to neurodivergent people and very intentionally address ongoing access to support for this particularly at risk group.



  • Describe the factors contributing to suicidality in neurodivergent people
  • List barriers to healthcare access for neurodivergent people
  • Describe practical aspects of improving neuroinclusivity, both within the healthcare space and the community at large


Cost: Registration Fee $25.00

Cost: Registration Fee are Non-Refundable. This training is designed and presented by Center for Health and Learning (CHL) under funding from the VT Department of Mental Health to the VT Suicide Prevention Center, a public-private partnership between VT DMH and CHL.

Refund Policy Registration fees are nonrefundable, it is transferable to another person or a credit can be issued for a future training.


About the Trainer:

Melissa M. Houser, M.D., Dr. Mel Houser (she/they) is an Board-certified family physician and an expert in neuroinclusive healthcare and employment, as well as the brain science of mental health. She has a clinical focus on providing medical care for neurodivergent patients across the lifespan. She is the Founder and Executive Director of All Brains Belong VT, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in Montpelier, Vermont that uses universal design principles to provide neurodiversity-affirming medical care, social connection opportunities for all ages, and neurodiversity-related educational training.

At age 37, Dr. Houser was diagnosed as autistic, ADHD, dyspraxic, dyslexic, and dyscalculic. She is also the parent of a multiply neurodivergent child.

For information and to register for the Vermont Suicide Prevention Symposium September 2023: Creating Communities Of Hope Through Empowerment And Action please visit HERE!


Vermont Suicide Prevention Center
View Organizer Website


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