As many as two in three Deaf people in the UK struggle with mental health problems, but most find it too difficult to access psychological therapy.
Today, new guidance from the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health (JCPMH) and Deaf health charity SignHealth, calls for an urgent improvement to deaf people’s access to mental health services.
Despite having poorer mental health than the rest of the population, the 60,000 people across the UK who use sign language as their main language often come up against barriers when seeking mental health services.
The difficulties Deaf people face when seeking mental health help are often woefully misunderstood by commissioners of NHS services, who in some cases assume that booking a British Sign Language (BSL)/English interpreter is enough.
This does not work for most deaf people, and can often make mental health treatments less effective as the three-way conversation can cause stress or misunderstanding. Deaf people should be able to choose to see a therapist fluent in sign language, as recommended by the guide.
The guide’s recommendations for commissioners of primary mental health services could make a dramatic change to the mental health of many Deaf people.
President, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sir Simon Wessely: “Everyone should have equal access to effective mental health services. It is important that commissioners take on board the recommendations within this guide to make this a reality for Deaf people. As Deaf people have increased vulnerability for mental health problems, it is essential that they are able to access effective, evidence based, mental health services that match the specific challenges they face.”
Chief executive, SignHealth, James Watson-O’Neill: “I am really pleased the Royal College and the JCPMH decided to produce this guide with SignHealth. All too often Deaf people are forgotten about and overlooked. It’s great to see recognition of the challenges Deaf people face, and also some of the simple steps commissioners can take. I hope commissioners will see this guide as helpful and begin to improve access in their areas.”
Join our #SIGNSELFIE campaign for Deaf Awareness Week: 15th – 21st May 2017.
It’s very easy to take part:
1. Sign the first letter of your name
2. Take a photo
3. Post it on social media (Twitter and/or Facebook) and include “Text SIGN17 £2 to 70070 to donate £2 to SignHealth”
4. Use #signselfie and tag @SignHealth so we can see your photos!
Deaf Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness that over 11 million people in the UK (1 in 6) are deaf or have a hearing loss.
What does SignHealth do?
SignHealth aims to improve the health, wellbeing and life-chances of deaf people in the UK. We deliver a wide range of projects such as therapy and counselling for deaf people with mental health issues, support for victims of domestic abuse, safeguarding provision for deaf children, supported housing and communication support.
SignHealth’s vision is a world where there are no barriers to good health and wellbeing allowing deaf people live happier, healthier lives. Text SIGN17 £2 to 70070 and help us make this vision a reality, or donate online.
SignHealth has been nominated for the Waitrose Community Matters Online Scheme for June, July and August. This scheme gives Waitrose online customers the opportunity to vote for one of the three nominated charities when they checkout.
This is the online version of the green token scheme in store. The amount to be shared out between the 3 charities is £25,000,in proportion to the number of customer votes received.
Please tell all your family and friends who shop online with Waitrose to support us during June, July and August.
The People’s Postcode Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Our project received £19,100 from the Trust to fund a specialist DeafHope Support Worker. This grant will enable us to expand our award-winning DeafHope project to Sussex in order to support vulnerable Deaf women and children who are affected by abuse.
The People’s Postcode Trust award funding to good causes that support a better world for people and planet. They are particularly interested in funding organisations that focus on the prevention of poverty, equal rights initiatives and projects that bring together different sections of a community to bring about greater understanding.
So far the People’s Postcode Trust have raised more than £168 million for charity. Find out more about the Trust on their website.
We are delighted that the People’s Postcode Trust has chosen to support SignHealth.
SignHealth has released a humorous film about the Accessible Information Standard. The film gives people a simple, but memorable guide to the Standard.
SignHealth’s chief executive, James Watson-O’Neill, said: “Everyone should know about the Standard. We felt that reading about it, or watching an ordinary video, would not reach enough people. So, we tried a different approach. The film is short, has the key facts, and will hopefully make an impression on people who watch it.”
The BBC Radio 4 Appeal this week features the important work of SignHealth. The actress Rachel Shenton makes a very personal appeal.
You can listen to the appeal live at the times listed below, or you can catch up on BBC iPlayer:
Sunday 2nd April at 07:55 and 21:26
Thursday 6th April at 15:27
Whilst at the studio Rachel also recorded a short audio clip about why she is supporting SignHealth. You can listen to this clip, or read the transcript, below:
“Hello, I’m Rachel Shenton and I am a television actress. I have a personal connection with deafness, my lovely Dad was deafened when I was 12 years old due to cancer treatment and I saw what a huge effect that had on him. I first heard about SignHealth 3 or 4 years ago now. SignHealth provide a vital service to the profoundly Deaf community, delivering things like therapy and counselling, services supporting women effected by domestic violence and safeguarding provision for Deaf children. And all, of course, in British Sign Language, so these really sensitive conversations can happen in their own language. Which of course is essential. I support SignHealth, and I hope you will to.”
We are a successful national charity, and keen to keep growing. We employ 160 people in projects all over the UK. We are proud that more than half our employees are deaf. Delivering deaf services for the deaf by the deaf, means we provide specialist, high quality services. The charity has three decades of experience improving the lives of deaf people and ensuring that deaf people get the same access to healthcare as hearing people and support those for whom mainstream services ignore.
We have the following vacancies in the SignHealth Finance team:
– Finance and Resources Director
– Systems Accountant
– Head of Finance
Interested? Know someone who might be? Find out more by looking at ourvacancies page.
On Friday 10th February a concert was held in Christ’s Church Chapel at the University of Cambridge, all to raise money for SignHealth. The concert included performances from a variety of musician, including solo singers, an A Capella group and a number of other musicians. The 2017 sign2sing song ‘Together’ was also performed during the event.