The Deaf Health Charity SignHealth is delighted to announce that it has taken the top prize in the Disability category at this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.
SignHealth won the award for its BSL Healthy Minds project, the only national psychological therapy service whose specialist workforce are all deaf or deaf culturally-aware, and fluent in British Sign Language (BSL).
Studies show that 40 per cent of deaf people will develop a mental health problem at some point in their lives – twice the rate of the hearing population. Yet BSL Healthy Minds is the first such service specifically designed for deaf people.
A 2015 evaluation found that 87 per cent of service users were fully satisfied with the service. Many even told the charity that they had lived for years with problems that had been addressed after a few sessions with a psychological therapist.
“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so SignHealth should be very proud to have won their category.”
The service achieved high recovery rates of 77 per cent, compared to a national mainstream average of 44 per cent.
Dr Sarah Powell, Clinical Psychologist and Hazel Wilcock, Clinical Strategic Lead accepted the award on behalf of BSL Healthy Minds before an audience of voluntary sector leaders, celebrities, politicians and frontline charity workers. The ceremony was hosted by TV journalist Bill Turnbull at the Mermaid Theatre in London.
Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated SignHealth on winning the highly-coveted award. She said:
“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so SignHealth should be very proud to have won their category. Their project delivered great results.”For 17 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities win awards.”
The life changing work of BSL Healthy Minds
Gary Cottrell, chief executive of SignHealth, said:
“SignHealth is delighted that our BSL Healthy Minds service has been recognised in the prestigious Charity Awards. We’re enormously proud of the service which has made a significant difference to so many deaf lives.
Going forward, we would like to see access to therapy in BSL made easier for deaf people. Currently we have to apply for funding for each individual’s therapy separately. Funding varies from area to area resulting in a postcode lottery. Via our Therapy the Deaf Way campaign, SignHealth is calling on the government to provide a nationally commissioned psychological therapy service for Deaf people in BSL.
As a result of winning at the national Charity Awards, SignHealth is now keen to continue the good work with part of this being the development of a cCBT (computerised cognitive behavioural therapy) program in BSL in partnership with Bupa. The programs that are currently available do not enable access for BSL users and this is a huge gap in self help support for deaf people. We are also developing a Real Time Online Psychological Therapy Service which will be secure and confidential and enable deaf, sign language users to access therapy at a time that suits them. “