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MINNPOST, Minneapolis, MN
By Andy Steiner

It’s hard enough to find a qualified therapist, but imagine being deaf and looking for a mental health professional who: 1) speaks your language (ASL); and 2) understands the intricacies of deaf culture. Not an easy task.

With the help of interpreters, hearing therapists often work with deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing patients, but the presence of a stranger in the treatment room can be awkward, to say the least. In Minnesota, there only a few therapists who are either deaf or hearing but fluent in ASL. Waiting lists to see them can be months long.

In recognition of these concerns, two years ago the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division established a Certified Peer Support Specialist Program. The program is like other peer support specialist programs around the state, except for one big difference: The peer support specialists on the team are all deaf or hard of hearing people who have experience with mental illness. They’ve been trained to provide support and guidance to their peers.





From DHHSC Email News
Posted: 06 May 2015 02:45 PM PDT

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), the department in charge of mental health services, is going through a Transformation Process.  They are making plans to fix our broken system. DBHDS has put out the results from there “transformation teams” and want public comment.  PLEASE go to the link below and provide feedback on the need for increasing culturally sensitive mental health services for persons who are deaf, provided by clinicians who are fluent in sign language.  There is not a single mention of the word “deaf” that I could find in all of these documents.  Just click the link and make a short statement about the importance of addressing services to the deaf community in the transformation process.  SAY ANYTHING.  It is very easy.The public comment period will close May 31, 2015.