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Deafness and Mental Health

It is estimated that one in six Australians experience some degree of hearing loss[1] and estimates of the signing Deaf community range between 6,500[2] and 15,400[3].

It has been reported that up to 70% of adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have hearing problems and deafness, often relating to poorly managed childhood infections.

The Deafness and Mental Health Statewide Consultation Service is the only service of its kind in Australia. Deaf and hard of hearing mental health consumers in Queensland have not previously had access to this type of service before.

The Deafness and Mental Health Statewide Consultation Service strives to promote appropriate and accessible mental health care for Deaf and hard of hearing people throughout Queensland.

Some of the services provided include:

Our mission

The mission of the service is to assist people who are Deaf or hard of hearing to access culturally affirmative and inclusive mental health care and treatment.

This is facilitated through:

  • providing education and training
  • supporting mental health clinical staff and other service providers
  • support for Deaf and hard of hearing mental health consumers
  • the development of prevention strategies
  • providing consultation services.

Resources

An extensive set of resources and training programs has been developed to assist mental health professionals to provide appropriate, accessible and equitable care to Deaf and hard of hearing people.

Resources developed include the deafness_and_mental_health_guidelines.pdf (PDF, 843.06 KB) and educational booklets on schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar, alcohol, sexual health, medications safety and relationships.

If you wish to access any of the resources available, please contact to the Deafness and Mental Health Service.

Presentations and workshops for service providers who work with Deaf consumers and Deaf Indigenous consumers who have an interest in this field have proven very successful.

Consultation services

The service offers assistance to treating teams and private practitioners in their consultations with adults who are Deaf or hard of hearing who may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness.

This can be provided as a face-to-face service or via video conference.

Consultations focus on:

  • being sensitive to a person's unique communication and mental health needs
  • assessing their current mental health and treatment
  • exploring treatment options.

Education

The service provides a variety of educational workshops for all health care professionals.

Depending on the audience, workshops can range from one hour to a full day, workshops can cover the following topics:

  • understanding the culture of Deaf people
  • language and assessment issues
  • hearing loss and the implications for mental health
  • how to book interpreters and why it is important to use them.

Information on our upcoming workshops can be found below:

Therapy/counselling

The service offers limited therapy programs and counselling that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. The team works with other health professionals, including psychologists and counsellors, to assist them to provide sessions that meet the needs of Deaf and hard of hearing people.

Feedback

Give us feedback on our services.

References

  1. Access Economics, Listen Hear! The Economic Impact and Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia. 2006.
  2. Johnston, T., Whither the Deaf community? Population, genetics and the future of Australian Sign Language. American Annals of the Deaf, 2004. 148(5): p. 358-375.
  3. Hyde, M. and D. Power, The use of Australian Sign Language by Deaf people. 1991, Griffith University, Faculty of Education, Centre of Deaf Studies and Research, Nathan: Brisbane.
Last updated 12 April 2017
Last reviewed 17 May 2015