Interpreting in Mental Health settings is a highly specialized field for experienced and capable Sign Language interpreters. The need for interpreters with this specialized skill is ever growing. Thanks to the high standards set by Alabama’s Mental Health Interpreter Training Project* (http://www.mhit.org), and their intensive training program, the Qualified Mental Health Interpreter (QMHI) certification is spreading to national acceptance as the hallmark of an interpreter who has the necessary skill. *Interpreters must be nationally certified with many years of experience before being accepted by the Interpreter Training Project.
In response to the need for more QMHI interpreters in Minnesota, ASLIS is partnering with the CATIE Center and MHIT. We will work together to provide interpreters who have finished the week-long Interpreter Institute with options for the next step in obtaining the QMHI, that is the Practicum Experience.
The Practicum is a 40-hour supervised experience that interpreters must complete before taking the QMHI written test. As a direct follow up to the training institute, interpreters put their knowledge into practice by observing and working with Deaf clients in Mental Health settings. The Practicum Supervisor in Minnesota is Bridget Sabatke.
In physical medicine, providers do assessments by doing tests on the body. In contrast, in mental health work providers often assess what is happening in the mind and they access that information through language. The interpreters undergoing their QMHI process are learning how to recognize and present information to providers so that more accurate diagnoses and treatment can be made.
Studies show that communication is critical to the outcome patients experience as a result of their treatment.
- Good patient and practitioner communication leads to more successful health outcomes. It is often the most important part of medical encounter. (Lee et al., 2002)
- A strong patient and health practitioner relationship will lead to better health outcomes and medical treatment. (Frey, 1998)
ASLIS is committed to improving patient outcomes by training more QMHI interpreters who live and work in our areas. Want to get involved? Here’s how: