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Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind Task Force
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 "Director of Public Policy, Allan Wachendorfer, and NASW member Kathleen Mitchell pose with lawmakers after Governor Snyder's signing of a bill package to remove offensive language from statute. This is only the beginning of what we hope will be several pieces of legislation that will address issues in the DHHDB community"


In mid-2013, NASW - Michigan was called on by members of the Deaf community to address gaps in mental health services being experienced by Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind (DHHDB) communities. DHHDB people in Michigan are not being provided adequate access to needed services. This leads many individuals to become isolated and experience increased trauma. Furthermore, language interpreters often lack an understanding of mental health and many providers are unfamiliar with Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind cultures. As a result, there are many misdiagnosis, unnecessary hospitalizations, and errors in prescribing appropriate medications. 


Therefore, NASW - Michigan organized a task force comprised of members of these communities, as well as advocates and service providers for the DHHDB. One of our first accomplishments was collaborating on a policy brief. "Gaps in Mental Health Care for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Michigan" outlines the gaps in mental health and physical health care to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and makes recommendations for change. Soon after this document was authored, members of the task force were able to present our findings to the Michigan Mental Health and Wellness Commission (MHWC), created by Governor Snyder. We are proud to announce that many of the task force's policy recommendations have been included in the MHWC recommendations made to the State. 


NASW-Michigan's Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind Task Force continues to work closely with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.


If you would like to learn more, contact the NASW - Michigan Director of Public Policy, Allan Wachendorfer, at:


You can also read the policy brief here: 


 "Gaps in Mental Health Care for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Michigan" 



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