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Program overview

Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing can get help from Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Divison to live independently, engage with their families and participate in their communities. Services are available from any of the five regional Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) offices and community-based providers located throughout the state. 

Who is eligible? 

DHHS provides services to Minnesotans of any age who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, late deafened, parents and family of those with a hearing loss, human service providers, employers and business, schools, and other interested individuals and communities. 

About our regional office services

Regional offices provide information, resources and referrals for Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and late deafened. Services include: 

  • Helping individuals navigate complex service systems so they can continue to live independently and productively in their home communities 

  • Providing training, consultation, direct assistance, advocacy and collaboration to help individuals make informed decisions 

  • Offering training and technical assistance to providers on how to make services accessible 

  • Technical assistance developing community and in-home service options that meet the needs of people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. 

People served by regional offices in 2018: 

  • Served 4,526 consumers
  • Provided assistance to 2,499 agencies 
  • Offered 157 trainings and presentations to 4,833 participants.

About our mental health program

Mental Health Program provides culturally affirmative mental health therapy and counseling in American Sign Language to adults who are deaf and have mental illness. Other services include crisis intervention, case coordination, after-care planning and community placement help. Training is available to mental health service providers who work or are interested in working with individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind.

People served by the mental health program in 2018: 

  • Served 156 consumers with 4,433 service hours
  • Consumers achieved or made good progress on 88% of their established treatment plan goals
  • Provided 27 trainings and presentations to 304 participants.

About the Telephone Equipment Distribution program

The Telephone Equipment Distribution (TED) Program provides telephone equipment to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, or have a physical or speech disability and need adaptive equipment to use the phone. The equipment is provided to eligible consumers at no cost as a long-term loan. Available equipment includes captioned, amplified phones, light-flashing ring signalers, Teletypewriters for the Deaf (TTYs), amplified telephones, loud ringers and hands-free speakerphones. 

People served by the TED program in 2018: 

  • Served 1,588 consumers

  • Distributed more than 3,439 pieces of telecommunications-related equipment. 

About our community-based grant-funded programs

DHHSD community-based services funded by state grants include: 

  • Mentors for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing who help families learn American Sign Language and other means of communication to improve the quality of interaction and informal learning opportunities 
  • Sign language interpreter services in Greater Minnesota for 12-step recovery groups, funerals; travel subsidies to bring interpreters to underserved areas; increasing availability of interpreters 
  • Support services for adults and children who are deafblind 
  • Mental health services, including individual and family counseling and emotional or behavioral assessments for children and youth, certified peer support counselors 
  • Real-time captioning of news programming statewide. 

People served by community-based programs in 2018: 

  • 316 adults and children received mental health services
  • 203 adults and children received deafblind-specific services 
  • 43 families participated in family communication mentor programs
  • 223 requests for interpreting services were fulfilled for 12-step meetings and funerals in Greater Minnesota
  • 16 interpreters participated in community interpreting readiness training in Greater Minnesota.
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