Mental Health Concerns in Our Deaf Community: The Roots Grow Deep

Tree with Roots
What Exactly is Mental Health?: Mental health equals emotional well-being. It means feeling good about yourself, the people around you, your job or school, having healthy relationships, enjoying life, and being able to deal with its many challenges. Lots of things affect mental health: biology, psychology, education, politics, social structure, and religion, to name a few.

In a chapter of a book devoted to multicultural mental health, Marsella and Yamada (2000) describe how society’s long-standing and deep-rooted social injustices can hurt people’s mental health. We thought about the implications of these injustices for our Deaf community’s mental health, especially today at Gallaudet, where so many Deaf people are struggling with issues that impact their mental health. Summarized below are the authors’ main points, which we think are well worth repeating.

There can be no mental health:

Where there is powerlessness, for powerlessness breeds despair.

Where there is poverty, for poverty breeds hopelessness.

Where there is inequality, for inequality breeds anger and resentment.

Where there is racism, for racism breeds low self-esteem and self-denigration.

Where there is cultural disintegration and destruction, for cultural disintegration and destruction breed confusion and conflict.

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