Embracing Vulnerability: Exploring the Need for Strength-Based Interventions to Support the Mental Health of Sign Language Interpreters
This action research project focuses on one American Sign Language (ASL)/English interpreter’s mental health journey in the first two years of her professional career over two six-month periods. The aim of this study is to present strength-based interventions that may help support interpreters’ mental health and professional development. A secondary purpose is to reduce stigma by educating the ASL/English interpreting profession and opening a discussion about mental health. Burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma are discussed as some of the complexities of mental health strain that ASL/English interpreters face in the field. Strength-Based Theory and Self-Efficacy Theory are used as the theoretical frameworks. The methods used in this project included journaling and grounded theory analysis. Strength-based interventions such as workplace accommodations, personal therapy, and coaching were utilized and implemented for the stabilization of the mental and emotional health for this interpreter. However, the results showed a lack of strength-based interventions accessible to this interpreter during the six-month periods. Such interventions may have been beneficial in the prevention of and recovery from mental health strain experienced on the job. Results show this interpreter achieved mental health stability, yet lacked support when returning to work after a mental health leave of absence. Strength-based interventions, including supervision, extended internships, and the Mental Health First Aid training course are suggested for further research for the ASL/English interpreting field to reduce mental health strain. Mental health resources are listed at the end of the paper.
Date of Award
Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies
mental health, sign language interpreters, strength-based interventions
Type (DCMI Terms)
American Sign Language | Language Interpretation and Translation
Chin, D. L. (2019). Embracing Vulnerability: Exploring the Need for Strength-Based Interventions to Support the Mental Health of Sign Language Interpreters (master's thesis). Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wou.edu/theses/133
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