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Health and Family Services Cabinet
MH/MR Honors Deaf Awareness Week

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 20, 2006  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Crace, (502) 564-6786  

The Kentucky Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services’ deaf and hard of hearing services is using Deaf Awareness Week to reach out to the deaf population who may also have a mental illness. Deaf Awareness Week is Sept. 24-30.

Approximately 24.6 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. That’s more than 8 percent of the total U.S. population age 3 and older. The vast majority of these individuals are people who are hard of hearing or older adults who have lost their hearing late in life.

Like others, individuals who are deaf experience a wide range of mental illness. They experience common mental health disorders, such as depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, at virtually the same rate as the general population. Prevalence of disorders such as borderline personality disorder and childhood behavior problems is significantly higher than for the general population, according to the National Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning in Alexandria, Va.

For deaf and hard of hearing individuals needing mental health services in Kentucky, signing therapists are available at the following agencies:

· Bluegrass Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board, Laura Burg, therapist, 201 Mechanic St., Lexington, KY  40507, (859) 259-0214 V/T.

· Seven Counties Services, Inc., Michelle Niehaus, therapist; Lindsey Williams, therapist, 2225 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY, 40211, (502) 772-7216 TTY.

For more information, contact Marcie Jeffers, state coordinator for deaf and hard of hearing services, or Kim Weldon, program coordinator for deaf and hard of hearing services, at (502) 564-4456 (Voice;) or (502) 564-5777 (TTY;) or e-mail or




Last Updated 9/20/2006