Tammera J. Richards
Services Offered
Author, Memoir
Most Recent Book Title
Toward Not Away: A Journey Through Depression to a Values-Driven Life
Book Description
TOWARD NOT AWAY: A JOURNEY THROUGH DEPRESSION TO A VALUES-DRIVEN LIFE is my attempt at making sense of the "why" of mental illness while finding the willingness to stay alive, combined with a psychedelic twist. This book combines the psychological insights of a book like "Girl, Interrupted" by Susanna Kaysen with the hallucinogenic experiences of a story like "Altered States" by Paddy Cheyefsky.
Additional Book Titles
"How to Establish a Freelance Interpretation Business: Professional Guidance for Sign Language Interpreters" 4th Edition 2019
Location (city/state/country)
Portland, Oregon
Author bio
I am currently in the process of having my memoir developmentally edited. This will be my debut foray into traditional publishing.

Professionally, I am a certified American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter of 31 years. During that time, I have primarily worked in mental health, medical, legal and conference settings. Seeing the mental health field through the eyes of its practitioners and serving as the vehicle for the mental health treatment of Deaf adults and children has given me a unique perspective of the field of mental health, and the effectiveness of its practices. I am also the author of a professional publication for sign language interpreters, now in its 4th edition, which is used in interpreter training programs across the United States and Canada.

While my previous works published are very different from my memoir, I have published “Establishing a Freelance Interpretation Business: Professional Guidance for Sign Language Interpreters” which is now in its 4th edition. I have also published “Team Interpreting: The Team Approach” in the Journal of Interpretation, as well as an article on the website Street Leverage, entitled “#DoAble: How Sign Language Interpreters Restore Relationships with the Deaf Community.”

As an interpreter, I have the privilege of facilitating meaningful communication between Deaf and hearing people during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. Often, I am the unwilling instrument of discrimination towards Deaf people, and those discriminatory messages come out of the hearing person’s mouth, into my brain and body, off my hands, and into the eyes of the Deaf person. I can see the crushing impact as those messages land. The vicarious trauma of the interpreter during these exchanges is visceral. Watching injustices and seeing them occur in real time cuts deep, and accounts for much of the burnout and numerous mental health issues experienced by those in my field. Personally, these experiences combined with my marriage to a Deaf man, which lasted ten years, shaped how I see the world and who I am today. All of this contributes to the way I live my life and cope with the struggles I experience as a person living with depression.

I am an expert in the field of ASL interpreting. I am also an expert in battling depression and surviving. Every day that I am alive, I have won. My quest to end the stigma associated with mental illness is ongoing. I live in Portland, Oregon (a proud, life-long Oregonian) with my husband of 18 years and my two sons. When I am not writing or interpreting, I enjoy volunteering for access-related social justice causes (such as interpreting for inaccessible YouTube or Livestream content) and participating in endurance cycling events with my AIDS/LifeCycle team: Team Portland. I am an avid reader, and I'm also a thriving child-taxi, driving my kids around to their various sporting activities (when we are not in lockdown). I have three mini-pigs: Zena, Zorro, and Zoey, who I adore. I trained Zena as a therapy pig, so she makes appearances in special needs classrooms and nursing homes where she visits, does tricks, teaches people about pet pigs, and gets countless treats and belly rubs.
Professional Speaker Topics
ASL Interpreting, Living with Depression, Therapeutic Interventions for Depression from the Patient's Perspective
Favorite Quote or Personal Motto

“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And good things never die.” Andy Dufresne, "The Shawshank Redemption"

  • Book Cover "Toward Not Away"

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