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In Our Own Voice: The Use of Focus Groups to Describe Mental Health Care Experiences of Persons with Hearing Loss in Allegheny County

Lokar, Francis R. R. (2007) In Our Own Voice: The Use of Focus Groups to Describe Mental Health Care Experiences of Persons with Hearing Loss in Allegheny County. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Disparities in access to mental health care for persons with hearing loss are significant public health problems. Despite federal mandates such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Deaf, Deafblind and hard-of hearing populations remain greatly underserved. There is limited data available that define the obstacles that account for these differences. There is a great need for formative research to advance a better understanding of these issues. In Allegheny County persons with hearing loss receive mental health services at a rate far less than the hearing population. A series of focus groups were convened to gather qualitative data to explore perceptions of mental health services and identify any barriers to care and ideas for expansion of existing services. The results of the groups suggest that while there are some differences among the three populations in regard to specific barriers to care, all three populations expressed a lack of knowledge regarding where services exist and how to acquire mental health related information. Many opportunities exist to advance the mental health needs of persons with hearing loss in Allegheny County. One is to develop a standardized protocol for both assessment and treatment of persons with hearing loss within all county mental health centers and physician private practices, including any social supports which exist outside the mental health system. This protocol would make information available regarding where mental health services can be obtained, how they can be accessed, and what kind of accommodations are necessary. Much needs to be done to begin to address the disparities that exist within the mental health system for all persons with hearing loss. Understanding what must be done is only the first step. It will take a commitment from many agencies within Allegheny County to realize a service delivery system that meets the needs of persons with hearing loss that is truly recovery-oriented.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lokar, Francis R.
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberKeane, Christopher Rcrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITY
Committee MemberRohrer, Wesley Mwmrun@pitt.eduWMRUN
Date: 27 June 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 April 2007
Approval Date: 27 June 2007
Submission Date: 13 April 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: deafbline; hearing loss; Mental Health Services
Other ID:, etd-04132007-071406
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:36
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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