Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) users comprise a linguistic and cultural minority group that is severely underserved in healthcare education and access. Deaf adults who use ASL are approximately 7x more likely than hearing adults to have low health literacy, regardless of education level, and are 3x likely to report fair/poor health than the average American adult. Social factors including communication barriers, discrimination, lack of resources, and isolation can impact and contribute to Deaf people’s health and wellbeing. Poor mental health, including depression, anxiety, social isolation, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and PSTD are commonly reported among this population. Availability of suicide prevention resources is extremely limited. This project by DeafHealth [http://www.deafhealthaccess.org/] promotes the mental health of the Deaf community in the U.S. who communicate in ASL through the creation and dissemination of culturally and linguistically accessible videos that focus on equipping Deaf individuals with knowledge and available resources needed to prevent suicide, including essential information about the recently implemented 9-8-8 hotline in ASL by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration this past September (https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/20230908/988-suicide-crisis-lifeline-adds-american-sign-language-services-deaf-hard-of-hearing-callers). Seven informational videos on suicide prevention, knowledge, and resources will be disseminated virtually within the Deaf community through social media platforms and email communications, such as Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/deafhealthaccess], Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/deafhealthaccess/], and LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/company/deafhealthaccess]. In and around May 2024, all seven videos produced by this project will be shared and disseminated in consideration of Mental Health Awareness Month.
What our grantee is saying: “A simple online search shows that there are very few videos on suicide prevention and available resources in American Sign Language (ASL). DeafHealth recognizes this critical gap for the Deaf community, and is grateful for the opportunity to raise more awareness to available and accessible resources, including the 9-8-8 hotline in ASL.” – Allysa Dittmar, MHS Senior Director of DeafHealth
Funded by Disability (January 2024)