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Mental Health Services

  • By: Candace A. McCullough & Sharon M. Duchesneau
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Although the latter decades of the 20th century ushered in a promising new era of mental health treatment for Deaf people in the United States of America, the current state of services remains inadequate and unjust. In every aspect of service delivery, from education, prevention and early intervention, to outpatient and inpatient treatment, today’s mental health system continues to underserve Deaf clients. Specialized programs catering to this unique minority group are extremely rare and, in large part, limited to urban areas. Of those that do exist, many rely on non-signing hearing professionals to deliver services via interpreters. When hearing professionals do sign, a disproportionate percentage of them possess only rudimentary signing skills. This reduces conversational dyads to kindergarten level of fluency or worse, virtually guaranteeing ...

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