Friday, April 3, 2009

DMH's Program Tonight Bombed!

DMH's Program Tonight Bombed!

Tonight's program, " An Open Community Forum: The Future of Mental Health Services for the Deaf/HH Presented by Stephanie Winslow, Director for Deaf and Multicultural Services
Missouri Department of Mental Health" was bombed. It did not produce anything new. It only is same old old stuff with some changes like window dressing.

Her presentations has set DMH back more than 30 years. Most of us are disappointed as there was nothing new. Most of us have spent years and time getting things the way the deaf community wants. Still DMH is thumbing its nose on us.

It was bold and clear from the start of presentation to the end that there was nothing constructive or capable for deaf community to benefit from DMH. It is still same thing such as "passing the buck" and trying to pacify us.

After inquiring about her background in mental health, she seems not qualified. She does not have the same credentials that Barry Critchfield and Steve Hamerdinger have. I did ask her to resign from the position as we reminded her that we were told that DMH would hire a deaf person and wait until after September 30th. They already hired her long before September 30th. This looks obvious from the actions by DMH. The DAC is a pacifier for them. They simply want to run the show and ignore our needs.

After reading many materials the past few months, I have come across this one - "Cultural Diversity Series: Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Persons who are Deaf" dated May 2002 and prepared by Barry Critchfield. This report is a clear indication of what Missouri DMH should have been doing.
There is copy of it available at

What does this mean?

It is time to mount legal challenges with Missouri DMH on federal laws, including the ADA and ADAA, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Human Rights Act and various legal avenues. There is a big question of Missouri DMH's acceptance of medicaid from patients. In the contract with federal government in accepting federal funds from Medicaid, they have signed agreement to promise not to "discriminate".

Yet, Missouri DMH has been discriminating against deaf consumers of mental health for years and years. It is time to look into this kind of legal challenge.

We have found some deaf patients who are suffering from lack of support services. More deaf people are coming out of woodwork and we neeed them all to testify in court.

After many months, it is time for me to write a letter to DMH, Missouri Governor Nixon,and the State of Missouri including Senate and House of Representatives. The letter will be an intent to sue them all for lack of mental health services for the deaf. I will be contacting the lawyers referral list to see who is willing to represent the Deaf People of Missouri in legal challenges.

The case could be the Deaf People of Missouri vs Missouri Department of Mental Health, Missouri Governor Nixon and the State of Missouri including Senate and House of Representatives.

It worked for New York, North Carolina, California, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Minnesota. IF they can, we can!

Suffice to say, tonight's progam has bombed and it is a final straw that broke the camel's back!

Paul Kiel
A private citizen

April 2, 2009