In this episode of Get Real we meet Jessie Aiton. Jessie is an experienced radio producer and public speaker, having worked for the ABC in regional Western Australia and 3AW radio in Melbourne.
While working in her high-pressure, fast-paced career in broadcasting, Jessie was going through a journey with her mental health: “I was really fighting for my mental health, I was really wanting to be functioning and getting well…”.
Jessie suspected she may have been on the autism spectrum: “I did suspect something was up and I had raised this before with a professional, who was very well meaning but I was told I was too social to be on the spectrum, which is something that a lot of late-diagnosed women hear…”.
And then at age 34 she discovered she was autistic, and as she’ll tell us, this has changed her life and has fuelled a passion for providing peer support for other women and girls who are autistic.
According to Amaze, the peak body for autistic people and their supporters in Victoria is that in Australia around 1 in 100 Australians is autistic and 85% of the community has a personal connection with an autistic person.
There’s also current evidence that around 50–70% of autistic people also experience mental health conditions and this presents higher in women and girls.
You can find out more about Jessie at her website The Lost Girl and her “Have a Cuppa with Me” peer support service.
CONTENT NOTE: If you’ve been affected by anything you’ve heard in this episode you can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to www.lifeline.org.au