ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-Deaf residents in Missouri are being promised better mental health services after two state agencies settle a federal lawsuit that accused them of violating the rights of the deaf under the American with Disabilities act.
Plaintiff’s Attorney Ken Chackes says that as part of the settlement, the Departments of Mental Health and Social Services will make sure there are qualified clinicians available to treat deaf people, “Bt that I man people who either can communicate with them directly with American sign language or have been trained to work with deaf people and will work with qualified interpreters.”
Under the settlement, the state will also hire a full-time State Coordinator for Deaf Services or two half time Regional Coordinators fo Deaf Services. It will establish one or two specialized outpatient centers in St. Louis, Kansas City or both and maintain a 24 hour crisis line with TTY capacity and access to voice interpretation.
The suit was filed over two years ago, on behalf of over 1,000 deaf Missourians, 20 percent of whom are children.
Chackes before the suit, the state failed to make the committment to put resources behind helping the deaf, “We are aware of several deaf people with mental health problems who couldn’t get treatment and ended up committing suicide in the years before this was done.”