In Michigan, many individuals who are deaf, deaf blind or hard of hearing struggle with ongoing mental health issues. Oftentimes, these health concerns are accompanied by trauma and/or substance abuse. To help make accessing mental health care easier in this community, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has created a series of videos for individuals, families and their support systems to provide information about seeking mental health services.
“Through these videos, we will be better able to reach more people who are deaf, deaf blind, and hard of hearing to help them successfully access mental health services,” said Lynda Zeller, Deputy Director of the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration within MDHHS. “In the digital age, smartphones and computers can be lifesaving communications tools, and videos that can be shared within the community seemed like the best way for individuals to get the word out to assist their family, coworkers, and friends.”
The series includes five informational videos, each focused on a different topic: Identifying Mental Health Issues, Accessing Services, What to Expect, Rights, and an overview of Deaf Culture. Each is approximately three minutes long and walks through the steps they can take to receive help. Videos include signing, closed captioning, and a voiceover so they are accessible to a wide audience.
In making the videos, MDHHS partnered with Rondocity Creative and DeafCan! of Sylvan Lake, Mich., a non-profit agency identified as a leader for the state’s deaf community. DeafCan! engaged members and advocates affiliated with their organization to provide valuable feedback on the project volunteer as talent for filming.
The videos are available online at www.michigan.gov/deafmentalhealth and www.deafcan.org. These and other MDHHS videos can also be found at www.youtube.com/michiganhhs.