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  • Publication
    Do Deaf Young Persons Have the Same Rate of Mental Illness as Hearing Young Persons?
    Few deaf children or adolescents currently attend the HSE Grangegorman Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) despite the deaf school in Cabra being in its catchment area. Although profound deafness rates in this age group are decreasing due to the MMR vaccine, advancements in cochlear implantations and the newborn hearing screening programme, mental health difficulties in deaf children and adolescents could be going unreported. Compared to hearing populations, higher rates of mental health problems have been found in deaf people [1]. This study aimed to gather data about rates of mental health problems in deaf young persons attending a deaf school and compare the results with a general population sample of hearing young persons, using the Growing Up in Ireland data. It is hoped that the results could be used to promote access to better healthcare for the deaf community. A Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was distributed to every pupil attending a mixed school for the deaf and their parents. The SDQ covers: Hyperactivity, Emotional symptoms, Conduct problems, Peer problems and Prosocial [2]. Results were described as ‘normal’, ‘borderline’ or ‘abnormal’. Results found that compared to the 10% published cut-off, a higher rate of primary school children scored ‘abnormal’ and more secondary children scored ‘border-line’. Bullying and loneliness were issues for most children, with peer relations the highest scoring difficulty overall. The low response rate is a limitation for the study. Out of 125 children, parents of 11 primary school children and 10 secondary school children participated.