CSD SVF is growing! National Deaf Therapy is the fourth business partner of our Social Venture Fund. NDT is a national web-based mental health platform fully dedicated to serving the deaf, deaf and blind, deaf and disabled and hard-of-hearing communities with a nationwide network of deaf therapists.
Co-founder Amanda Sortwell Crane says, “Our focus is group practice, a mental health service for the deaf and hard of hearing community members. The service is done virtually, using an online video platform. This is important because many members of the deaf community know each other, creating a situation where we have difficulty finding a licensed therapist who doesn’t already know us personally.”
Founded by professional licensed therapists and longtime friends Amanda Sortwell Crane and Megan Erasmus, NDT launched in March of 2018. Sortwell Crane and Erasmus, both deaf, identified a significant gap in the market: mental health services rarely satisfy the needs of the deaf community. The two Gallaudet University alumnae launched NDT with one key goal: eliminate the unnecessary barriers deaf people continue to face and provide easy access to professional mental health services – help deaf people “find a therapist like me.”
“We’re switching from a more medical setting to a more humanistic interaction from home,” explains Erasmus. “We work with Independent Contractor therapists from different states around the country. The goal is for clients to have options of therapists to choose from.”
“Everything we do at CSD supports creating a world where all deaf people are valued,” says Christopher Soukup, CEO of CSD. “National Deaf Therapy’s efforts through both the career opportunities it provides deaf therapists, and the services rendered to patients under their care, will directly contribute to the overall economic, social and mental well-being of the deaf community. This aligns with the vision of the CSD SVF, which goes beyond ensuring the viability of deaf-owned businesses by amplifying their ability to create positive social change.”
CSD SVF is the first-ever social impact fund and incubator for deaf-owned businesses in the United States. CSD created this multi-million dollar fund in 2017 to help address the 70% unemployment and underemployment rate among deaf Americans.
“We are very excited to be working with CSD,” said Sortwell Crane and Erasmus. “CSD is a leader and innovator and we are very honored to be working with them to advance both economic opportunities and wellness for our community. We know there is a void in the market and we have a big vision for our company. CSD’s support is crucial to helping us grow quickly throughout the country.”
NDT offers a multitude of web-based mental health services through a secure eTherapy video platform. Clients can choose between therapist-led or group sessions for individual, couples and family. NDT also offers group support circles, community and school training and additional specialties, including: disaster relief; trauma sensitive group yoga; pregnancy and post-partum issues; self-harm and suicidal thoughts; holistic and wellness counseling; sexual/gender identity; and severe mental illness and impact on family members.
“We want to be able to reach those living in rural areas who are looking for mental health services, as well as those who live in cities with a higher deaf population, which means less privacy, so that’s not fair to them,” says Sortwell Crane. “We want all deaf people to be able to choose a deaf therapist they are comfortable with. That’s the big goal.”