Deafblind or Hard of Hearing DDBHH are at a greater risk for mental health

Deafblind or hard of hearing ddbhh are at a greater

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Deafblind, or Hard of Hearing (DDBHH) are at a greater risk for mental health problems than the general population (p. 187). One fifth of the Deaf population has hearing loss so severe that even with amplification, spoken language cannot be heard. At 9.4% of the population, hearing loss is sixth most common medical condition in the United States (p. 187). Based on statistics extracted by Mathos and Polland (2015) from Gallaudet University, the county of Allegheny in Pennsylvania is estimated to have about 120,000 citizens with hearing loss (p. 187). Only about 5,000 of these people are likely to use American Sign Language (ASL); about 500 are Deafblind (p. 187). Yet: . . . in 2005, there were only about 200 deaf or deafblind consumers enrolled in outpatient mental health care with specialized service providers, according to an unpublished summary report compiled by area behavioral health service providers. (Mathos & Polland, 2015, p. 187) This amounts to a startling 00.16% of the estimated DDBHH population receiving mental health services in Allegheny county. While the service providers in the area are fluent in ASL, this particular county has had “few ties to behavioral health program planners, community developers and
FINAL PROJECT: DEAF ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES 27 county and state administrators” (Mathos & Polland, 2015, pp. 187-188). This has limited the county’s capacity to integrate external resources into their network. Additionally, providers have had little knowledge about sources of revenue and funding streams that could be used to expand their DDBHH community resources (pp. 187-188). Mathos and Polland focus their efforts on this county to improve the network of community resources, resource awareness, and advocacy for its DDBHH community. Task forces. Mathos and Polland have found that the formation of task forces has been successful in addressing problems such as the lack of awareness the community has of its resources, the lack of integration between internal and external resources in the community network, and funding streams. This can be seen by the example of Rochester, New York in 2004, when “the Finger Lakes Health System Agency convened a Deaf Health Task Force to examine issues related to the health of Rochester’s deaf population” (Mathos & Polland, 2015, p. 188). Mathos and Polland feel the task force should prioritize determining their specific goals within the following categories: resource awareness, information gathering about consumer needs, public outreach and community education, direct service development, workforce development, and mentoring opportunities for young professionals. This was crucial to their early-on successes: Early in the evolution of the task force, easily achievable goals that were universally valued were purposefully emphasized. As small
FINAL PROJECT: DEAF ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES 28 successes were achieved, a focus on interagency and intercultural collaboration was encouraged. (Mathos & Polland, 2015, p. 193) Depending on the size of the task force, Mathos and Polland recommend smaller work groups to improve efficiency of setting and achieving goals within each of the six goals (pp. 188-190). Their task force

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