HDI'S LISA AMSTUTZ IS SECOND IN KENTUCKY TO EARN SPECIAL CREDENTIAL FOR MENTAL HEALTH ASL INTERPRETING

06/16/2023


Website Link  https://hdi.uky.edu/news/hdis-lisa-amstutz-is-second-in-kentucky-to-earn-special-credential-for-mental-health-asl-interpreting

Alt text: Staff photo of Lisa Amstutz standing in front of trees and greenspace. She is smiling, wearing a pink top, black jacket, gold necklace and has blond chin length hair with one side tucked behind her ear.
Alt text: Staff photo of Lisa Amstutz standing in front of trees and greenspace. She is smiling, wearing a pink top, black jacket, gold necklace and has blond chin length hair with one side tucked behind her ear.

Lisa Amstutz earned her Qualified Mental Health Interpreter Certification earlier this month, making her the second American Sign Language interpreter in Kentucky to do so. The credential is part of a crucial effort to bridge the gap between Deaf mental health care needs and barriers to access.

The certification is typically held by experienced interpreters who have already demonstrated particularly high competence in general interpreting. A progeny of Alabama’s Mental Health Interpreting Project, the certification is earned through practicum experience focused on broadening the interpreter’s knowledge of mental health conditions and treatments so that the most effective interpretation can be made in crisis and mental health care settings.

A common misconception about American Sign Language (ASL) is that it is simply English on the hands, when in fact, ASL is a full language with its own grammar, syntax, idioms and means of expression. A question asked in English may need to be altered to make conceptual sense in ASL, and likewise, a sentiment expressed in ASL may need to be altered from a direct translation to hold true to its intended tone in English. Because of this, a qualified ASL interpreter is a non-negotiable requisite to effective mental health care for those who use ASL as their primary language.

An estimated one in five adults in the United States is living with a mental illness, and research repeatedly shows that this rate is significantly higher among Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. A statement from the National Association of the Deaf cites that “mental health disorders for deaf signers, including depression and anxiety, occur at a much higher rate, usually in the magnitude of two times higher than what is typically seen in the hearing population.”

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