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Mental Health

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Students are to prepare a 4-5 pages opinion paper on mental health policy issues and its impact on an at risk population. Site the policy and the impact.

This paper talks about the discussion related to the Lutheran service policy. With respect, be mindful that the writer decided to do some thinking outside of the box in this opinionated paper. The writer had to address the program policy in this situation. Let's assumes that a deaf person comes and wants to receive their services. Who is responsible to cover the cost of usage of interpreter service? They should first see what the policy says about services for the deaf. In the paper, it also discussed about a law that supports disabled people (include those who are deaf) getting services. Also, in this paper stated some interesting fact from some research related to cultural and mental health issues, but lack research about deaf cultural and mental health issues and here many policies don't focus on supporting deaf people.

I'm currently doing my internship at Lutheran Social Services. At Lutheran Social Services, they have different programs such as adoption/foster care service, community education, congregation partnerships, refugee/immigration service, and youth Haven Camps. I will focus in is the adoption/foster care service. As I review their policy, the Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, Inc is a private, non-profit agency and their child placement program was established in 1956. I have a strong interest in advocacy for deaf people of color. This is the least supported group when it comes to adoption services and I happen to fall in the same category. One of the reasons I am really interested is because when it comes to adoption and knowing your rights many deaf people of color do not know or may not fully understand the affects it may have on them. It could easily be me in their shoes since I have had a spotty history growing up. Speaking of myself as a black deaf woman, I have been experiencing the frustration of not getting full service from programs due to lack of communication access this can lead to distress and/or depression. I believe that most deaf people are more than often left out due to communication barriers, its distressful see that it's a struggle what they have to go through to receive decent service. There are not a lot of mental health agencies for deaf people and those few deaf have to go through annual search for fund for deaf agency. At most agencies, they prefer not to serve deaf and hard of hearing people due to the cost of having certified/professional interpreters (which happens to be required by law according to ADA laws and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act).

The Lutheran Social Services policy makes me question of how much they will support their neighborhoods with different needs. It reads..."To provide professional social services that promote the well-being of individuals, families and community to assist congregations in identifying and responding to community needs to advocate for social justice individual self-sufficiency and the inherent worth of each human being. - services are offered in a non discriminatory manner regardless of race, creed, religion, national origins, sex, or handicapping conditions." (LSS/NCA). When I say I question their policy, I target what exactly do they mean when they say people with disabilities? What about those with multiple disabilities are they served as well? It's a large gray area when you speak of handicaps in general because many people with disabilities are not considered handicapped.

From my understanding Lutheran Social Services are all about supporting services for every culture, every race, handicapped condition and so on. I also question if the policy agrees that hearing impairment falls under the category of being handicapped? It is very important that Lutheran Social Service give an explanation of what they mean when they state "handicap", rather than disability since it may at times be confusing. Both words can have different interpretations depending on whom you are speaking to, which may confuse the two. Some viewers view "deafness" as a person who can be physically healthy, but they are not able to talk or can talk but can't hear is consider handicapped. There are many people with documented hearing loss but can talk and people assume they have no disabilities or handicaps. Deafness is defined as partially or wholly lacking or deprived of the sense of hearing; unable to hear. ( However, many agencies link the two together when really one or may not have an affect on the other. This can mean the difference between someone who can speak but not hear from getting services.

I asked my supervisor from Lutheran Social Service, who has been working there for quite a while, how does a person with a hearing disability qualify for their service. She responded that they had not worked with deaf people or had/have any deaf clients. I can only envision how this could create mental health issues and distress to the deaf people of color population. I even wonder about those with dual disabilities or those who may be deaf/hard of hearing who may have more than one disability as well. She also stated that services are offered on a case-by-case



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