Is Gallaudet partnership with Crisis Text Line a step forward in the fight against mental illness for Deaf People?

Crisis Text Line recently released a press release, “Deaf community gets free crisis hotline of its own” on Gallaudet Website on November 14, 2016. Crisis Text Line is available only in the United States and it is free where you can get 24/7 support for those in crisis. With the partnership between Gallaudet and Crisis Text Line, they have disclose an alarming fact: Texters self-identifying as deaf are nearly twice as likely to mention depression and nearly twice as likely to mention suicide.

This is disturbing.

Two years ago, I wrote an article called Deaf Community Accountability and Mental Illness where I spoke of the need of providing more services for people who are deaf since they are often “excluded from health surveillances, outreach programs and mass media health care messages”. I argued for more community accountability and for more people to start talking about the dangers and threat that mental illness is affecting the Deaf Community.

 

president-cordanoPresident Roberta J Cordano is taking this very issue to heart with the new partnership with Crisis Text Line by being proactive in preventing and getting help to those who are seeking help via texting rather than the traditional method of communication via the telephone. I applaud President Cordano efforts in ensuring that all Americans who are deaf/hard of hearing in getting mental health and emergency/crisis services.

“The efforts by Crisis Text Line to ensure that their services are accessible to and appropriate for the deaf community is commendable,” said Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano. “Historically, deaf people in need of mental health and emergency/crisis services have had to deal with the additional stress and frustration of finding accessible services. Technology has helped in this manner, but it is also important that mental health and emergency/crisis services staff members are properly trained in working with deaf and hard of hearing clients. I am pleased that Gallaudet staff and students are involved in this critical work.”

Not only is this new partnership is creating better access to mental health and emergency/crisis services, it has also created an phenomenon where more than a dozen Deaf people have applied and successfully become volunteer Crisis Counselors for Cris Text Line.

“We’re thrilled to welcome deaf texters,” said Nancy Lublin, Founder & CEO of Crisis Text Line. “And we’re fiercely proud to have so many deaf people in the role of hero, thriving as Crisis Counselors who help other people navigate pain.”

Yes, indeed. This is an amazing partnership and without a doubt a great step forward in providing a first line of defense for people who are deaf/hard of hearing who are struggling with their mental health and getting much needed emergency/crisis services as soon as possible.

Yes, this is a great step forward in the fight against mental illness for Deaf People, but we still have much work to do. Crisis Text Line is just a foot in the door.

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

 

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