There are nearly three million Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) people living in California today, yet finding a supportive community amongst other DHH individuals can be difficult. “Many DHH individuals experience mental health challenges, communication barriers, and social isolation,” Malage LeBlanc, Case Manager for Felton Institute’s Deaf Community Counseling Services (DCCS) program explains.

To address this barrier and bridge the gap between community, mental health, and access to care, Felton Institute partnered with the University of California, San Francisco’s Center on Deafness in 2015. Since then, Felton Institute has managed the Deaf Community Counseling Services (DCCS), a program that provides direct behavioral health care to Deaf and hard of hearing Bay Area residents.

Services include:

  • Comprehensive Clinical Assessment 
  • Targeted Case Management 
  • Crisis Intervention 
  • Individual, Group, and Family Psychotherapy 
  • Play Therapy and Art Therapy 
  • Individual and Group Rehabilitation Counseling 
  • Medication Support 
  • Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) 
  • Consultation, Education, Trainings, and Workshops

DCCS empowers clients to live self-sufficient lives by fostering healing through a comprehensive lens. DCCS, however, is not just a direct service program — it is a community-builder that brings people together and unites them in their commonalities.

“The DCCS program can make a significant contribution to the overall sense of community, support, and belonging within the DHH population in various ways,” said LeBlanc. “Having access to American Sign Language (ASL) communication can have a critical impact on clients, enabling them to express their feelings and thoughts effectively.”

The DCCS program employs a team fluent in ASL. This type of accessibility is a unique and important service for the DHH population, where mental health services offered in ASL are uncommon.

“It is hard to find programs that provide direct communication via ASL. As a Deaf person, I have personally encountered limitations when seeking services,” LeBlanc said.

DCCS does more than provide critical behavioral health services; it creates an environment where the skills and experiences of Deaf and hard of hearing people aren’t just accepted but applauded. 

For more information about Felton Institute’s Deaf Community Counseling Services (DCCS) program, you can visit our website,, and follow us on Instagram @FeltonDCCS.


Felton Institute responds to the needs of our community by providing innovative, evidence-informed social services to transform lives. Our organization offers 50+ programs that address mental health, the unhoused, early care and education, those impacted by the justice system, transitional age youth, as well as aging adults. Our award-winning programs, which have been recognized as national models, combine the latest scientific research with cultural sensitivity and a deep commitment to supporting and reflecting the communities we serve.

Founded in 1889, Felton is the oldest secular non-profit social services provider in the City and County of San Francisco. We have expanded our services across most Bay Area counties and continue to be at the forefront of pioneering new approaches to meet the emerging needs of underserved populations.

We know what it looks like to successfully build community.

We foster impactful change by strengthening the community as a premiere service provider. We also strengthen other service providers by supporting them in their fiscal, human resources, communications, IT and overall agency operations. With Felton’s support, they are able to focus on providing the best services to their clients, doing the work they were meant to do.

Felton empowers the community and ensures successful outcomes to all we engage with.

Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.