Deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety compared to hearing people. What makes this situation worse is that Deaf people find it harder to access support. When they go to the doctors, they experience communication barriers which only makes their symptoms worse.
Research suggests that the best treatment for people suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety is ‘talking therapy’. This involves a therapist sitting down with their patient and encouraging the patient to talk through their problems, to help the patient find more positive ways of thinking. The most common form of talking therapy is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This therapy method relies on 1-1 communication, but for Deaf people, this is impossible. The moment an interpreter is involved, the conversation becomes less intimate and less effective for the patient.
That is why SignHealth began BSL Healthy Minds, a therapy service for Deaf people delivered in British Sign Language. All of our trained therapists are either Deaf or fluent BSL users and are able to support their patients in the best way for them – in their first language.
A number of years ago we produced a useful summary of information about the mental health of people who are Deaf.
An interesting article by Reda Misghina can also be found at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1757913918764319