Preconference: Special Interest Groups

ESMHD conference ‘’Improving Mental Health Care for Deaf People and their Families’’, February 7th, 2024, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Organized by the four Special Interest Groups (SIG) of the ESMHD: Deaf Children and Families, Deaf Adults and Families, Public Health, and Interpreting in Mental Health

Date: February 7th between 12.30 to 16.30, 2024
Title: Improving mental health care for d/Deaf people and their families

In line with the central theme of the main congress “offering the best possible mental health and well-being care in the future for all d/Deaf people”, we would like to encourage contributions on challenging cases. The aim of the meeting is to bring together people with experience, special interest or concerns in the specific special interest groups for constructive discussions and for exchanging views/experiences and to provide a forum, to network transnationally, share mutual concerns, exchange good practice and develop more effective ways of making the full range of health services accessible to d/Deaf people in their own language of choice.  We look forward to contributions as described below:

  • The presentation of a challenging case that fits the profile of one specific special interest group
    • Describe the background of the case at referral/first contact
    • What has been done/tried so far?
    • What are the current challenges to be discussed during the presentation at the SIG?

For more information about the ESMHD and the specific SIGs see below or check out our website  (link opens in new window). Also note that we offer a new SIG this year on Interpreting in Mental Health!

SIG Deaf Children and Families:

We primarily encourage submissions related to the topics mentioned above in Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adolescents. The challenging cases will be discussed by an expert panel and the attendees of this SIG during the sessions and aim to facilitate a better understanding of the challenging case both for the presenters as well as the attendees.

SIG Deaf Adults and Families

The theme of the meeting is: ‘D/deaf clients and Forensic Psychiatry’. After a short introduction of the subject by an experienced professional, SIG-participants are invited to explain the services for Deaf forensic psychiatry and psychology in their country. Through case histories they can illustrate the relationship between Deaf people and the police, lawyers, and what happened during legal hearings, detention, referral, and treatment. As a result the SIG participants can consider how to achieve equality in tackling these often difficult situations.

SIG Public Health

The vision of SIG Public Health is equal access to health information, health education, health care and preventive health programs for D/deaf people in their language of choice.

The aim of the meeting is to bring together people with experience, special interest or concerns in physical/general health services for D/deaf people. In the session examples of good practice of health care for d/Deaf people are presented and discussed.

SIG Interpreting

This SIG has the aim to enhance and strengthen the interpreters in different mental health situations. We encourage interpreters to submit cases that highlight challenging situations where patient safety issues are at focus. Also, situations that have been identified to secure and promote mental health among the d/Deaf and hard of hearing of all ages.


Practical information

Abstract submission

Abstracts based on the registration form  can be submitted to the conference committee consisting of the chairs of the ESMHD SIG on Deaf Children and Families/ Deaf Adults and Families and Public Health before 31st October 2023: Presenters will be notified by the 30th of November of the decision on their papers. It is expected that presenters submit their final presentation for the SIG meeting by the 26th January to allow the interpreters sufficient time for preparation. Presentations not submitted by the due date will not be presented at the conference.


The ESMHD will provide interpreters for International Sign. If you would like to present in your native sign language you will have to provide your own interpreters to translate to English.

Registration fee

Members of the ESMHD: 40 Euros

Non-members of the ESMHD: 60 Euros

Not a member yet? Join here: Membership | ESMHD

It is also possible to join the Special Interest Group Meeting as a member of the audience without submitting and an abstract/presentation.

Chairs of the SIGs:

Chris Margaret Aanondsen, ESMHD SIG Deaf Children and Families

Ines Sleeboom-van Raaij and Ana Garcia, ESMHD SIG Deaf Adults and Families

Johannes Fellinger, ESMHD SIG Public Health

Lea Strandberg, ESMHD SIG Interpreting