When Claire became depressed she was referred to a hearing therapist – a person who didn’t understand her culture or background as a deaf woman. Claire’s story demonstrates why therapy delivered directly to deaf people in British Sign Language is vital.
Claire first became depressed following the births of her two children. After the birth of her second child her depression became worse and she struggled to cope. Yet she knew that she needed to control her life for the sake of herself and her family:
“I tried to switch off, I tried to move on. I had to for my two children, I had to focus on them,’ she says.
Claire hid her depression from the rest of the world; only she and her partner knew how desperate she was. She was becoming more and more isolated, spending time alone at home with the children and hiding from the outside world.
“I felt uncomfortable going out. I felt people were looking at me and I became paranoid that they knew something was wrong.”
Claire knew she needed to solve her problems so that she could return to her normal self and enjoy life again. She was referred to a hearing therapist and was pleased that an interpreter had been organized. However, when the therapy started she didn’t find it easy. Her therapist had never delivered therapy via an interpreter and communication broke down. To make things worse, Claire felt uncomfortable as she knew her interpreter from college.
Claire feels she would benefit from seeing a deaf therapist who could communicate with her in her own language and understand her culture and concerns.
“If I had the opportunity to see a deaf therapist, it’s a real possibility that my symptoms would improve. I’d be able to express all my worries and problems in my own language… it would be so much easier to answer questions and talk,” she says.
Sadly for many people like Claire, accessing therapy in BSL can be difficult. Many have to wait months to get an appointment and in some areas funding is not available.
“We need to see deaf therapists faster so that our lives can get back on track sooner,’ says Claire. “Having the chance to talk about how I’m feeling will help me so much. I’ll get my identity back.”
Join SignHealth’s campaign for Deaf people to receive Therapy the Deaf Way.[clear-line]
Here’s how you can help
1) Write ‘I Support #TherapyTheDeafWay‘ on a piece of paper.
2) Take a photo of yourself holding the paper.
3) Post your photo on Facebook or Twitter and add the hasthtag #TherapyTheDeafWay
4) Sign the petition[clear-line]