I was recently asked to discuss mental health with a community group. One of my take-home messages was that we should work to develop resiliency as a preventive strategy for mental illness. Resilience in Deaf Children: Adaptation Through Emerging Adulthood, edited by Debra H. Zand and Katherine J. Pierce and reviewed by Ros Hunt, has led me to think more critically about my use of the term. Indeed, I am now engaged in the kind of questioning the contributing authors call for. As Hunt summarizes,
What do we mean by resilience? Is it inherent traits or acquired skills? Is it adaptability to disadvantageous circumstances or challenges? Is it synonymous with achieving desired outcomes?The most important and challenging questions put forward in Hunt's review relate to how we view the state of being deaf. He asks,
If resilience is a response to risk, how is risk assessed? For example, is being deaf a risk factor, or is it the results of being deaf that create the risk?The questions made me stop to consider whether my cultural competence training has adequately addressed this issue and why issues related to deaf children, but also children and adults across a range of ability statuses, so rarely receive our attention. What are your thoughts on the questions above?
By Ros Hunt
PsycCRITIQUES, 2011 Vol 56(43)