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Abstract

This study examines the experiences of social care workers working with deaf young people presenting with mental health issues in a residential setting. A qualitative research methodology was implemented to gather the data. Four participants engaged in semi-structured interviews. The data collected was analysed using thematic analysis. The research findings identified three themes that were relevant to the research aim. The participants described experiencing issues of anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation among their clients. The findings acknowledge the significant impact sign language has in mitigating mental health issues and how isolation due to communication issues among the hearing community can negatively impact on young deaf people. The benefits of engaging with the wider Deaf community was highlighted as having positive psychological outcomes. The findings identified the views of workers about how parents, who were not competent in sign language could contribute to negative developmental outcomes, in agreement with existing literature. Organisational challenges were identified, and the findings suggested there were issues in policies and staff training. This indicates that there are opportunities for the organisation and staff to offer greater support to the clients.

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