Mental health services for the deaf: Use, barriers and preference of provider

The purpose of the present study was to assess if there is a relationship between a Deaf and/or hard of hearing individual’s level of identification with the Deaf culture and their past and current use of therapy. Participants were 25 Deaf and/or hard of hearing individuals, ages 18 to 73 recruited from a local Deaf and hard of hearing service center. Identification was assessed using the Deaf Identity Development Scale. It was hypothesized that individuals that scored highest in the immersed subscale would use less mental health services, perceive more barriers to accessing services, and would be less likely to use a hearing or non-signing therapist than those that scored highest in the marginal, bicultural or hearing subscales. Because there were not enough participants to adequately fill the identity categories, immersed (4%), bicultural (88%), hearing (0%), marginal (4%), the hypotheses could not be statistically tested. More participants indicated that he or she agreed they want more mental health services than those who did not agree, it failed to reach statistical significance (p = .064). Although the most endorsed first contact for a mental health issue was family or friends, if they were to use a mental health professional, a majority of participants stated they would prefer someone who can sign or is Deaf.