Connection: for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Community
NWHS’ Connection Program serves Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing residents of Marion and Polk Counties, providing counseling, case management, advocacy, crisis intervention, and other services to these citizens. Skilled professional staff provides assistance with the challenges faced by those with hearing loss, including communication issues, adjustment to hearing loss, and general counseling. Services are individualized to each person’s specific needs.
Additionally, Connection offers services at no charge to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing clients who have been victims of crime. If you have been, or know someone who is deaf and has been a victim of a crime, Connection staff can provide crisis intervention, counseling, case management, and advocacy services, as well as assistance in applying for victims’ benefits.
Staff members are selected for their ability to communicate effectively with this special population. This means not only being fluent in American Sign Language, it also means understanding the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing culture including the barriers and special challenges they face.
What specific services does Connection provide?
• Individual, family, and group counseling
• Case management
• Information and referral
• Substance abuse education and referral
• Crisis intervention
• Services for Deaf victims of crime
• Use of videophone for counseling sessions
The Connection staff facilitates services with NWHS’ other programs including the West Salem Medical and Dental Clinics and the Crisis and Information Hotline. Staff also make and facilitate appropriate referrals with outside agencies when needed
Lior Azen Counselor for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing at West Salem Mental Health Clinic since 2008
"I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and hold a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with a special focus on Deafness from Western Oregon University and I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). .
The Connection Program, affiliated with NWHS, serves Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafened individuals. I am myself Deaf and fluent in ASL. I am familiar with the Deaf community and its issues; among them the ethical considerations of confidentiality and dual relationships. I take these concerns seriously and address them directly during counseling sessions.
I view the process of counseling as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery in the context of a safe and supportive environment. I operate from a strength based approach. I encourage equality between the client and therapist in the counseling relationship. Cultural diversity and unique individuality are acknowledged. Strengths are recognized and feelings are honored. I value empowerment as a way of increasing self awareness of choices so that one can choose to live according to one's values. I use techniques from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as a way of increasing skills to deal with the challenges people face in life."
Street Address: 1245 Edgewater St NW, Salem, OR 97304
Business Hours:Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
How You Can Help
If you are interested in supporting our mental health services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, please consider these possibilities:
•If you are an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, or fluent in ASL, please consider volunteering as an interpreter or client assistant in our clinic. We are specifically looking for an ASL-fluent volunteer to work with our Victims of Crime program.
If you would like to volunteer, please contact our HR Department at 503.588.5828 or click HERE to download a volunteer application.