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When discussing mental health, we normally think about the mental health population as those who can hear. People who were either born deaf or lost their hearing later in life, are those who should be included in that population. Deaf people suffer from mental health at twice the rate of the general population. The most common mental health disorders are anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They not only struggle to express themselves to others, but services that are provided are rather difficult to navigate as well.
Lip reading is not enough and interpreters are scarce. There is a heavy need for interpreters and/or providers that are also deaf. According to the National Association for the Deaf, deaf people prefer deaf professionals to assist with their mental health.
There is not only difficulty in communicating with mental health professionals, but families as well. Deaf children who have issues communicating with their family are four times more likely to be affected by mental health. It just shows the importance of learning the signs and symptoms of mental health in the deaf. Deaf people are less likely to seek assistance due to the worry of miscommunication.
There are several ways to help deaf people get the help they need. Learn proper sign language, educate them about their right for referrals for professionals who are also deaf, and to use extreme caution when assisting someone who is deaf with mental health services. Make sure there is no miscommunication. Overall, educate yourself on what you can do to help others!