Deaf people have long had difficulty accessing mental healthcare, due in large part to a lack of ASL-fluent and culturally-responsive therapists. But while the World Health Organization notes that COVID-19 has been a major disruptor in mental health services worldwide, National Deaf Therapy has been working hard to fill the gaps in access for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, throughout the pandemic and beyond.
According to the CDC, pandemic-related fear, grief, economic instability, and isolation, have presented a growing rate of mental health concerns, with a particular rise in depression and anxiety disorders. Many Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, particularly those with multiply marginalized identities, are experiencing an even more profound social and psychological impact due to gaps in communication access that are often embedded in virtual healthcare, and virtual and physical workplaces.
National Deaf Therapy (NDT) specializes in personalized, tele mental health care for deaf individuals, couples and families. A Deaf women-owned company co-founded by Amanda K. Sortwell Crane, MS, NCC, LPC, LHMC and Megan Erasmus, LMHC, the organization offers comprehensive services to clients at any stage of their healing journey.
NDT further dismantles barriers to care by taking on the hassle of dealing with clients’ insurance companies on their behalf. They also work with community partners and businesses to streamline the referral process to make sure mental health care is as accessible as possible—financially, culturally, and linguistically.
As a virtual-based company, NDT’s practice includes therapists from all over the country, and therapists serve clients where they are licensed to do so. Currently, that includes 12 therapists, and four team members supporting day-to-day operations.
Our goal is to provide mental health services for the deaf communities nationwide, share ASL-based resources nationwide, and continue to elevate the deaf community’s access to healing, nationwide.
Co-Founder, National Deaf Therapy
The co-founders’ 18 years of combined practice meant they had a good handle on the services their clients needed, but running a small business was a whole new world. That’s where the true value of a partnership with CSD Social Venture Fund came in.
“As therapists, who are on an entrepreneur journey, there were plenty of tools and information that we needed to learn to run a successful company,” said Erasmus. “The CSD team has supported us on nearly every aspect of our business. We’ve learned about marketing & branding, invested our insurance & billing department, connected with CIGNA to get in-network with insurance companies, and streamlined our HR/Onboarding process. CSD continues to challenge us to think of different ways to elevate our company.”
Because of CSD’s investment and support, National Deaf Therapy has been able to scale its business from a team of four therapists to 12, and is now serving clients in 25 states. Their dreams for the future include additional expansion to reach states that their therapists currently do not cover, and to grow their service offerings to include subscription packages, online workshops, courses, and more!
Want to learn more about what NDT has to offer? You can connect with them directly in ASL by clicking the ASL Now button on their website.