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Lithuanian psychologists support people with hearing disabilities during pandemic

Close-up woman communicating in sign language

People with hearing disabilities face psychological difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, as an insufficient number of corresponding sign language psychologists in Lithuania, LRT reports.

Since September, four sign language psychologists from the Lithuanian Society of the Deaf (LKD) have provided free individual and group consultations both in-person and remotely across the country.

“It was important to assure wider access to mental health services in sign language. Previously, most people who are deaf had to use translators for psychological consultations.” according to Psychologists.

“Sing language consultation does not require mediators, so it is more acceptable for the deaf, as they can be more open and relaxed. Before, every consultation was with a different translator, which could seem unreliable,” Donata Lukošienė, one of the psychologists at LKD, said.

“There were a few other sign language psychologists in Lithuania. Usually, however, they worked in closed institutions, such as schools or rehabilitation centres. LKD aimed to make psychological help accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.” she added.

LDK introduced a 24/7 sign language translation service, while the 112 emergency app allowed people who are deaf or hard of hearing to call for help more easily.

The sign language psychologist added that people with hearing disabilities also lacked opportunities to acquire mental health knowledge.

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