Deaf People and Mental Health Online Conference
Direct Learn home | Online conferencing home | Contact us


More abstracts for conference papers and presentations will be added as they become available.

Best Practices in Treatment for Children who were exposed to domestic violence by Brian Berlinski

The presentation will begin with statistics pertaining to the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault in the deaf and hard of hearing community, including children of deaf adults. Special focus is given to the manifestations of domestic violence in intimate partnerships that involve at least one deaf person. It will outline the cognitive, physical, emotional, social, and behavioral impact of domestic violence (DV) on children. Details about the neurological impact of DV on children will be provided.

Numerous studies have shown that children reap many benefits from creative arts activities within the context of therapy. Special attention is given to the applications of art therapy to deaf and hearing children survivors of DV and sexual abuse. There will be an explanation of how Child-Centered Art Therapy and Feminist Art Therapy dovetail with the peer model implemented by DeafHope as an alternative to the clinical model. The integration of Child-Centered Art Therapy and Feminist Art Therapy provides the structure of weekly art therapy sessions within DeafHope's Children Program.

The DeafHope Children's Program features weekly group art therapy sessions for deaf and hearing children survivors of DV and sexual assault. Once a month, the mothers join their children for family art therapy sessions. In addition, this program includes a three-part project for community education designed to educate deaf students about dating violence, rape, and the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Providing Culturally Responsive Mental Health Care to Deaf Indigenous and CALD People by Lara Denman

Over the last 10 years many public mental health systems around the world have begun to more fully recognise the needs of Deaf people from an English speaking background and have subsequently begun to generate, implement and evaluate innovative strategies to meet these needs.

However to date, public mental health systems are yet to acknowledge the needs of Deaf people from an Indigenous or ethnic background. It is hardly surprising given that their needs have been significantly under researched. The impact that this has is enormous, in that the continuum of care available to hearing, English speaking people is not accessible to Deaf people from an Indigenous or ethnic background.

This presentation will explore:

  • the barriers to access that Deaf people from an Indigenous Australian or ethnic background face when seeking mental health care
  • strategies that mental health service providers can utilise to provide more culturally responsive mental health care to this particular group of consumers

It will also provide a series of recommendations that public mental health systems could implement to enhance the accessibility of their services to overcome these barriers.

Using videoconferencing in mental health services for deaf children by Sara Rhys Jones, Ged Davies and Sophie Roberts

It is well established that for a variety of reasons deaf children and young people are approximately 1.5 times more likely to develop mental health problems than their hearing peers, with the prevalence of problems (ranging from emotional and behavioural difficulties to major mental illnesses) being approximately 40 per cent (Hindley, 1993).

The main aetiological factors in the development of mental health problems include communication problems, subsequent difficulties with peer relationships and family dynamics, and a high incidence of central nervous system damage.

Deaf children and their families require access to the same range of mental health services as their hearing counterparts. However, they have a range of special needs that ordinary mental health services struggle to meet. In particular generic mental health services may not be geared up to having an adequate understanding of the issues such as the communication needs and the specific patterns of social, emotional and cognitive and language development. There are also important issues around the understanding of deaf culture.

Prior to January 2004, the only specialist mental health service for deaf children in the UK was in London, which meant that children and families often had to travel long distances to receive a service. In order to increase access nationally to specialist services, the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group (NSCAG) commissioned a pilot project with 2 satellite centres in York and Dudley. The multidisciplinary teams in these centres use videoconferencing technology to improve service delivery. The screens have been used in a number of ways. These include, direct clinical work, assessments, individual therapy, family work, post-discharge support (e.g. on-going contact with schools, follow-up of children discharged from the inpatient unit in London); and facilitating multifaceted team involvement in cases.
In addition the screen is used to maximise multidisciplinary working and between the teams in the realms of training and supervision, clinical governance and audit, research, sharing and spreading clinical expertise, and business meetings.

The London-based service and the satellite services in York and Dudley offer a model of how the mental health needs of children with a low incidence condition, or sparsely distributed populations of children who require highly specialist support, can be met.

The presentation will describe the service in some more detail and will demonstrate the use of the videoconferencing equipment in this context. The format will be PowerPoint slides and use of video in BSL and spoken English with subtitles. It will also present some early data from the evaluation of the service.

Bending the Rules: An Interpreter's Stand in Medical and Mental Health Settings by Ben Karlin

The codes of ethics of interpreters' professional organizations generally include neutrality, impartiality, and avoiding alliance with the majority- or minority-language. These codes typically confound "neutrality" and "impartiality", using them interchangeably. Patients enter medical and mental health systems with a goal. An interpreter has three options: to neutrally allow the parties to work out for themselves whether they meet their goals; to impartially assist both parties toward a just outcome which may be mutually unacceptable; or to ally themselves with one party or the other, accepting the goals of that party as their own. If medical or mental health encounters succeed (not merely as communicative but as therapeutic events) when patients' goals of getting, and clinicians' goals of giving help are, to some degree, realized, the only appropriate stance for interpreters is to work toward those goals.

Empowering individuals and empowering communities by accessing education in health related professions by Naomi Sharples

The University Of Salford School Of Nursing provides access and support for deaf people whose first and preferred language is British Sign Language (BSL) who want to become first level registered Mental Health Nurses. The Deaf students follow the same teaching learning and assessment process as the hearing students and are supported by interpreters, note takers, tutors and administrative staff.

This process of education and professional registration allows deaf people to work in professional nursing roles within the health sector with deaf people who are experiencing mental health problems and who require the skills of a qualified nurse to facilitate their recovery. This provision is unique to England and is recognised at all levels of service provision, from local services for deaf people to the Department of Health to be vital to the development of access to mental health services for Deaf people.

This paper will address the concept of empowerment through education and critically analyse this concept at an individual, community and professional level in order to tackle the complexities of the term 'empowerment' and identify commonalities and differences in the application of this concept.

The impact of experience on clinicians’ judgments regarding psychosis symptoms in Deaf patients by Robert Pollard

This presentation looks at the impact of experience on clinicians’ judgments about psychosis symptoms in deaf patients. Psychosis often manifests through disturbances of sensory and linguistic functions in hearing people. The differing sensory and linguistic abilities of deaf people can yield unique symptom types and patterns if they become psychotic. There is little research in this area and no tool available to document the nature and severity of psychotic symptoms in deaf people. As a step toward developing such a tool, a survey of clinicians in the deafness field was undertaken. The presentation describes this survey, and examines the results of it.

The characteristics, assessment and treatment of deaf sex offenders by Brendan Monteiro

Deaf sex offenders from a heterogeneous group though they share many characteristics with hearing sex offenders. Until recently there was very little information available on the characteristics on Deaf Sex offenders and their assessment and treatment. This presentation will:

  • consider the characteristics of Deaf sexual offenders. The information presented is from a published article “The Characteristics of Deaf Sexual Offenders referred to a Specialist Mental Health Unit in the UK”, and reports the findings of a case file review of cohort of 137 Deaf sex offenders, referred to the National Centre for Mental Health and Deafness (NCMHD), specialist Mental Health Service for Deaf people based in Salford, near Manchester, UK.
  • deal with the assessment and treatment of Deaf sex offenders. Hearing sex offenders have been able to access appropriate services through prison programmes, probation services or NHS Treatment Programmes specifically designed for sex offenders. Deaf people were unable to access appropriate services because of the cultural and linguistic implications of their deafness, until 1997.

Making positive connections - suicide and deaf communities in Glasgow by Lynne Hawcroft and Elaine Welch

This paper is extracted from a report called Making Positive Connections - Suicide and Deaf Communities in Glasgow, prepared on behalf of Deaf Connections. As part of its remit to improve the health of d/Deaf people, Deaf Connections became aware that very little attention had been given to the issue of suicide amongst d/Deaf people. Working with colleagues from ChooseLife, the Scottish Executive strategy for suicide prevention, a proposal was developed to initiate preliminary exploration of suicide amongst d/Deaf people. This project is a small step into the unknown area of suicide and d/Deaf people. There are more suicides in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, but we have no idea know how many deaf people may be involved. The Scottish Executive’s Choose Life Strategy has trained 6000 people to help prevent suicides and now we have two d/Deaf trainers who can spread this training to d/Deaf people. This paper outlines the issues of suicide and d/Deaf people in Glasgow and makes recommendations for steps which need to be taken to reduce anxiety and suicide within the deaf community.

Suicide in the deaf community - a literature review by Oliver Turner and Joanna Wootten

Suicide in the United Kingdom is an important public health issue. The past two decades have seen a steady and significant increase in suicide rates among young adults, and current UK trends reflect generally those of other English-speaking nations. Self-harm is also common throughout the UK.

The small number of studies that have been carried out on suicide in the deaf have shown that risk factors for poor mental health are similar when compared to the hearing population. Some authors however point to risk factors that are more specific to the deaf, for example deaf children being born to hearing parents which, it has been suggested, increases the likelihood for depression.

There is a significant gap in our understanding of suicide in the deaf population and to our knowledge no comprehensive review of the literature has been conducted. The purpose of this report is to provide a thorough and systematic review of the literature on suicide in the deaf. In doing so the report will describe how the literature search was carried out, review the findings of available literature and explore the possibilities for future research.

It is important to note that our review is still currently in the final stages of completion and so the findings we present are only preliminary.

Social And Emotional Adjustment of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students in Special Education Settings in Israel by Erez Miller

This paper describes a two years investigation of the social and emotional adjustment of students with hearing impairments in special education classes and in special education schools in israel. to date, no large scale study has been undertaken in israel to investigate this issue, although the literature and field experience indicate a greater proportion of social and emotional challenges among these students.

The paper then examines the results and their implications to educators and school psychologists.