Mental Health and Deafness
Presented on 5 June 2008
Understanding factors that affect the well-being of deaf young people
What is happening?
A model used in mental health to explain why difficulties emerge in some people and not others is the 'stress-vulnerability model'.
What vulnerabilities may affect people?
- Genetic factors eg; Cystic Fibrosis
- Environmental factors eg; Chernobyl
- Birth complications eg; Cerebral Palsy
- Additional learning difficulties eg; Autism
- Deafness could be classified as a vulnerability
What stressors do deaf young people experience?
- Physical and mental well-being
Physical and mental well-being
- Abuse: physical, sexual, neglect and emotional
- Access to information re maintaining physical well-being and to primary health care, eg; GPs
Stressors to cultural and religious influences
Mental well-being, eg; PTSD and breaking of attachment
- Access to services varies - dependent upon status (not aware of what's available) and the 'postcode lottery'
- Social status - refugee, housing, material goods, benefits, opportunity, experience etc.
Lack of access to language and developmental experience, can affect:
- Cognitive development
Impact on brain development
Impact on scaffolding (Vygotsky)
Delays/vulnerability in consequential thinking
- Metacognitive development
Delays or vulnerabilities in understanding other people's perspective - 'Theory of Mind'
- Emotional development
Limited emotional understanding/emotional regulation/empathy
The development of self starts to occur during the 2nd and 3rd year of life, in the context of social interactions and relationships
Self-esteem expresses the attitude of approval or disapproval, and indicates the extent to which the individual believes himself to be capable, significant, successful and worthy. Coopersmith (1967)
Impact on functioning in all areas (eg; relationships, learning, etc.):
- Expect to fail
- Don't try
- Give up easily
- Don't acknowledge success – reject/ can't see
- Negative self-talk
- Unable to ask for help
- Self-fulfilling cycle
How can we address these stressors and improve the well-being of the deaf young people in our care?
When should we be thinking of asking for help from other agencies?
- Dangerous behaviour
- Suicidal, self-harm, harming others
- Failure to develop, eg; physical, cognitive and language
- Further assessment for developmental delays, autism, specific language difficulties
- Externalising behaviour
- Aggressive behaviour, noncompliance
- Those who are not a 'management problem' often get left, but monitor: change in behaviours/mood, withdrawing, change in appetite and sleep