Language concordant mental health care is the gold standard in supporting deaf people, however, there are not enough mental health providers who use American Sign Language (ASL). Use of interpreters remains necessary for provision of services. There is a chronic shortage of interpreters and even smaller numbers qualified for work in mental health settings. Many professional ASL/English interpreters choose not to work in mental health. Through qualitative interviews, this study explored reasons why. Participants shared their mental health interpreting experiences and reasons for no longer working in the setting. Data showed that a variety of demands related to the work of interpreting in mental health created substantial barriers for them. For one, they did not have any specialized training. There is only one comprehensive mental health interpreter training in the U.S. Participants experienced lack of preparedness, difficulty understanding language impacted by mental health symptoms, challenging intrapersonal responses, and limited access to structured professional support. This study examined barriers to the work of mental health interpreting, explored recommendations, and is a step in the direction toward identifying facilitators to mental health interpreting.
Date of Award
Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies
interpreting, deaf, sign language interpreting, deaf mental health, mental health interpreting, interpreting specialization, interpreter training
Type (DCMI Terms)
Text; Image; StillImage
Adler, E. (2022). “I Don’t Do Mental Health:” Exploring Barriers to Mental Health Interpreting (master's thesis). Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wou.edu/theses/226
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