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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) population. 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 behavioral health service providers for the DHHDB. One of our first accomplishments was collaborating members of the task force presenting our concerns 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. 


More recently, task force members provided training to behavioral health service providers across Michigan. To date, close to 400 providers, mostly social workers, in almost 50 counties have taken the training including as far north as Marquette. 


NASW-Michigan and the task force are now working to pass legislation that would close many of the gaps we are seeing. Here is an info graphic with more information.



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



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