“The challenges of battling the darkness became a cycle of normalcy, health and well-being offset by periods of mental health concerns. At first, the periods of concerns were minimal and brief in contrast to the periods of well-being. But eventually, the balance shifted and the periods of darkness became more and more prevalent, while the periods of normalcy and well-being diminished. “
“But by him putting an end of the relentless torment, it was ultimately that very darkness that took his life from him. With that understanding, what do we do now? We all must understand that WE must change. We must look closely at ourselves and ask ourselves, what can I do? What can we do? How can we as a community take accountability for this? What would community accountability mean? What would it look like? What would it be?”
“To understand the prevalence of mental illness in the deaf community, several common statistics were found. The prevalence of mental illness among deaf people is at least as high as in the population at large (UCSF, 2004). Furthermore, findings reveal that the rate of Axis I mental health disorders does not differ between hearing and deaf populations, but Axis II and childhood behavior problems are three to six times more prevalent for deaf persons. Deaf children and adolescents exhibit higher levels of behavioral and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders then the general population (Haskins 2000 & Chritchfield, 2002). The prevalence of mental health issues in the deaf community is as significant as in the population at large, thus, emphasizing the need to examine the some unique factors impacting deaf people living with mental illness.”
1) First, members of the deaf community may have limited medical and mental health knowledge because they have not had direct access to health information during their primary and secondary education, which may result in less help-seeking behavior.2) Some members of the deaf community visit their doctors and mental health professionals less often, in part, due to limited access to direct communication.3) Many health care settings do not provide certified and qualified medical and mental health interpreters.4) Deaf ASL users often embody a unique culture that is unfamiliar to most medical and mental health care providers. This lack of cultural- and linguistic-competency on the part of the professional often results in higher rates of inaccurate evaluations, misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatments.