Mental health is how we feel every day. It is a determiner of a good or bad life. Some thoughts and feelings bring dark periods, while others are considerably good. A general recipe for good mental health is having connections because humans crave them.

Unfortunately, there are alienating forces in the world, that includes being deaf. That puts an immense strain on mental health and view of oneself, but there are vices to cope with it. Let’s look at the impact of religion on deaf mental health.

Mental Health and Deafness

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We’ve discussed that deaf people belong to a distinct culture. They use their language to communicate and have a unique history, and customs within that community. They do not see their deafness as a disability.

However, when the culture is a minority, there is an open space for ridicule. It tends to come from people who don’t understand deafness. They see the deaf community as disabled and at a disadvantage in society. This view is unfair and degrading in many ways. Deaf people don’t see themselves as needing pity. They are proud of their deafness.

Being looked down on by the whole of society and as lesser of a person can have tremendous effects on how one views themself in the world. That can be one contributing cause of mental health issues in the deaf community. Keep in mind that this isn’t the entire picture. 

Deafness Later In Life

The deaf community is a mixture of people born deaf and those who became deaf later in life. For someone who became deaf due to an accident or another circumstance, coping with that traumatic event can be challenging. According to the NHS in England, the coping mechanisms can be substance abuse, self-harm, and others. There are no exact statistics for this, but it is just as prevalent in deaf communities as in the hearing.

The more worrying figure also put out by the NHS says that there are 40% more mental health issues in deaf children than in hearing. There are various reasons for this. 

Deaf children can face social exclusion from their peers and the school system. Later on in life, they face barriers to employment opportunities. Even though there are discrimination laws, employers can still get around them. It also takes a lot of resources to work with a deaf person with training. Unfortunately, some people don’t see this as a worthy investment.

Exclusion also comes in other forms, like social and public resources. There is already a lack of funds due to unawareness by the hearing society. Things are improving with more of an initiative by the state and federal government and private organizations to support deaf communities. The general lack of access is what causes isolation and mental health issues. 

Who or What Can the Deaf Turn To?

Having depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues is not as simple as switching it off. Getting through mental health issues requires continuous treatment. It is easy for hearing people who can go for therapy or do other personal things. Deaf people lack that access because of communication issues with therapists.

Religion As a Saving Grace

Religion is a vice and a form of agency to give people a purpose. It is a way for someone to believe in something bigger than them. Many people turn to God(s) for a mental guide on how to build a life based on structure.

Religion has a lot of benefits for people struggling with mental health issues. They can connect with people that think similarly, create social connections and groups in a healthy environment, and religion teaches things like compassion and gratitude. 

Another defining factor of faith is how it provides a blueprint for self-worth and empowerment. Although the deaf community has a strong sense of self-worth, some deaf people might struggle with this idea.  

How the Bible Views Deafness

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Religion should be a space for acceptance. People turn to it to get a greater sense of community. It brings them together with others who share a similar view. However, religious texts in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and others are interpreted differently depending on the person. 

Positive and Negative Views of Christianity 

There are two views on deaf people in the Bible, for example, in the story of Moses standing before God in a burning bush. Moses covers his eyes to avoid facing his creator. Moses could only hear God. Deaf people, couldn’t protect their eyes. Seeing is their survival in this world. The message from that story was God’s way of accepting people and how he created them, no matter what they lacked. 

Another scripture creates separation between God and deaf people. This scripture also compares the people of Israel to deaf people in a negative light. As you can see, some can find acceptance from God, while others feel alienated from a practice they may have turned to for self-help. 

Buddhism in Thailand

In other religions of the southeast, like Buddhism, specifically in Thailand, the International Mission Board published an article about a mission trip to spread Christianity to deaf communities throughout Thailand. One of the people that were part of the mission observed something interesting about the Buddhism attitude towards the deaf. There was a scenario with a deaf child being prayed for by a monk who repeatedly called the child a curse. That only paints part of the picture of Buddhism because it is practiced differently depending on the country. However, Asia can be unaccepting in some ways towards people with a learning disability, deafness, blindness, and others.

Religion Based on Interpretation

For deaf, Christian people, it’s not at all with feeling a sense of alienation from the church. Some still feel genuine love and a sense of self-worth from God. They believe that God made them special to observe the world around them, both the good and the bad. They see that their deafness is a gift from God and take pride in it. 

The same goes for other religions around the world. Deaf people hold a unique interpretation of what they practice. For some, it’s what helps them build a positive environment for their well-being. At the same time, others may not find solace in it. That is all based on a personal interpretation.

To learn more about how the deaf community copes with mental health issues visit,

Thumbnail Photo Credit to: Photo by Anna Shvets: