Leveraging Technology to Address Deaf Mental Health Inequities
Melissa Anderson is a Gallaudet University-trained psychologist and clinical researcher who strives to provide accessible behavioral healthcare to members of the U.S. Deaf community. She is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. She founded the DeafYES! Center for Deaf Empowerment and Recovery at UMass Chan, where she has continually provided outpatient therapy and conducted research on Deaf mental health since 2011.
The U.S. Deaf community – more than 500,000 Americans who communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) – experiences heightened rates of mental health conditions compared to those from the general population. Hearing individuals have access to dozens of validated mental health treatments, yet there are no evidence-based treatments to treat any mental health condition with Deaf clients. Available mental health treatments fail to meet Deaf clients’ unique language access needs.
Leveraging extensive community engagement to address these barriers, Dr. Anderson has led teams of Deaf and hearing researchers, clinicians, filmmakers, actors, artists, and Deaf people in recovery to develop and evaluate innovative treatment adaptations that are uniquely and expertly tailored for Deaf signing people.
This presentation will outline our process of community-engaged intervention development, as well as showcase examples of completed interventions and interventions currently in the works.