Another victory: This is great news for Deaf Missourians! Once again, however, it is important to note that the issue is not just access to services via interpreters in mental health settings, but access to Deaf counselors, therapists, social workers and psychologists. The majority of Deaf people seeking mental health services want to work with Deaf professionals and receive services directly in their own language – not via interpreters. When it comes to mental health services, direct provision in American Sign Language is the best and preferred option. Still more educating needs to be done, and perhaps more lawsuits need to be filed down the road to ensure that Deaf people actually receive the best standard of care in mental health settings.
Missouri Association of the Deaf Win Suit Against State
May 11, 2012
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
A federal judge has approved settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 1,000 deaf Missourians over mental health services for the deaf.
U.S. District Judge Matt Whitworth approved the settlement Thursday in Jefferson City in a suit filed by the Missouri Association of the Deaf and 13 named plaintiffs. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say about 20 percent of deaf persons in need of mental health services are children.
The suit accused the state of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide adequate mental health care for the deaf. Among many provisions, the settlement requires greater availability of sign language interpreters and development of outpatient and inpatient centers staffed with clinicians and case managers trained in aiding the deaf.
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