The VCH Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & Deaf-Blind Well-Being Program (WBP in short) provides mental health services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind people throughout British Columbia.
What does “good mental health” mean? It means a person feels good and has healthy well-being. Well-being means when an individual knows their abilities and limitations, can cope with stress and challenges in their life, feels empowered, feels equal & can contribute to their community.
The WBP was established in 1991 and receives its funding from the Ministry for Children & Family Development (MCFD). Its operations are managed through Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).
Our vision is to empower all deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind people to feel supported and confident in their lives. We share techniques with clients for self-analysis, self-care and overall well-being. We prioritize culturally and linguistically accessible services that are tailored to clients’ unique needs.
Why was the WBP established?
The Well-Being Program was created to provide accessible mental health services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind clients, and in some situations, with their families.
A priority of the WBP is addressing cultural and/or language barriers to facilitate clients’ access to and benefit from mental health and addiction services. For example, historically, hearing services did not provide sign language interpreters, nor did they understand how to communicate with the Hard of Hearing.
The WBP provides services for those who identify themselves as culturally Deaf & communicate with sign language. The WBP also provide services for those who may identify themselves as oral deaf, hearing impaired, or hard of hearing, as well as those who may communicate orally. Not only that, people who experience hearing loss early or later in their life can use the services.
The WBP’s criteria for provision of services is that individuals with hearing loss must demonstrate challenges or barriers to accessing other mainstream services. If an individual can access mainstream services, they will be referred elsewhere.
The WBP occasionally provides services to the family members of a client if their issue is connected to their relationship with our Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind client, for example, WBP can provide couples counselling for a Deaf and hearing partner or provide family counselling to an entire family. One possible example is when family members are experiencing a conflict or miscommunication with a Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind family member.
The decision to offer services to family members of our clients is determined at WBP intake meetings – please contact WBP.