Mental Health is an important part of everyone's life. When an individual is having difficulty and looks for professional support, it’s important the service provider is competent in their field of practice. Some of the comments below are various professionals who understand the importance of accessible, professional and competent mental health care providers. This includes clinicians and interpreters.
Training in and understanding of mental health and counselling principles would be a benefit to anyone working in the field; especially to sign language interpreters, who hold responsibility to convey deeply emotional and complex material between people of two different languages and cultures. When we are prepared for a task, we can more easily trust that we have done our best. This automatically leads to a more natural occurrence of self-compassion and resilience when things are difficult, or a task does not go as we had hoped. It is especially beneficial if our training teaches us how to support ourselves as care-providers. Being trained and prepared for our work is not only good practice, but a form of professional and emotional self-care. Self-care is a significant part of providing support to others going through difficult circumstances. It can help mediate the effects of compassion fatigue and burnout which can make our work even more rewarding and long-lasting.
STEPHANIE HALL, MA, CCC, STUDENT IN SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION
LIVE AUTHENTICALLY COUNSELLING
As a practicing psychologist for almost 20 years, I understand how imperative a strong background in education, training, and a commitment to continual professional development can play in the success of a clinician's ability to support their client’s journey to psychological health, wellness & resilience. As a Canadian, I personally understand how imperative inclusivity of diversities, cultures and abilities is to our society.
While professional interpreters are more readily available to assist the deaf community with mental health care, the ability of the interpreter to express the mental health state of the client is limited to the interpreters’ training in mental health approaches. While professional interpreters are experts at language interpretation, they may not likely have extensive training in mental health approaches. Having a foundational understanding of the mental health field is essential to providing quality services as part of a support team.
As such, it is my hope that professional interpreters assisting clients with mental health care are committed to their ongoing knowledge and development in the field, by undertaking specialized training that would support their competence interpreting in mental health settings. I did not realize that such programs were not readily available and I am hopeful that this is the first of many opportunities for interpreters to invest in their professional practice, so clinicians can work with them to provide the best possible outcomes for the clients we support.