Mark Hodgson and Daniel Dorney become the first Deaf men to walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise awareness of Mental Health issues facing the Deaf community.
Mark and Daniel, dubbed “Two Deaf Foot”, walked 1,200 miles this summer and smashed their original fundraising target of £10,000 to raise more than £60,000 split between two Deaf organisations, one of which is the Deaf health charity SignHealth.
SignHealth’s Board of Trustees were keen to make sure that the Deaf community can see how the money received from the Two Deaf Foot is being spent. So the Trustees have decided to set up a Designated Fund in SignHealth’s accounts called The SignHealth Two Deaf Foot Fund. The money received from Two Deaf Foot will be held in this separate fund and clearly reported in the charity’s accounts each year which can be viewed online at any time.
Three of SignHealth’s trustees will join with Mark and Daniel to form the SignHealth Two Deaf Foot Fund Committee which will look at proposals from SignHealth staff on how best to spend the money to support Deaf people’s mental health.
Daniel said “Mark and I are proud to be invited to sit on the SignHealth Two Deaf Foot Fund Committee to manage our donation as a result of the Deaf Community pulling together to smash our fundraising target! We want to make sure the money is spent on charitable activities within SignHealth as well as continuing to fundraise to grow the fund in the future.”
Access to mainstream mental health services for Deaf people is almost non-existent, and yet Deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health problems than hearing people.
Mark said: “The process of receiving professional help is lengthy and the waiting times for approval means Deaf people’s problems worsen which makes recovery harder and longer. Some Deaf people struggle accessing mainstream hearing services using interpreters, preferring to see specialised Deaf counsellors that use BSL. We strongly believe it is time for change”
SignHealth is dedicated to making sure Deaf people get the same access to healthcare as hearing people.
SignHealth’s chief executive, James Watson-O’Neill, said “SignHealth is honoured to be a beneficiary of Mark and Daniel’s incredible efforts and their gruelling walk across the country. This is an absolutely amazing achievement and we are very proud of them. We are all excited about working with Mark & Daniel to establish the SignHealth Two Deaf Foot Fund to ensure their fundraising legacy continues”.
James added “There is a mental health crisis facing Deaf people but fundraising to overcome this issue is not the long-term solution. SignHealth is working closely with the NHS to highlight the barriers and we are proud to be working with Shout to offer a free text service to support Deaf People in crisis who need to talk to someone. If you, or a Deaf friend needs urgent help, please text DEAF to 85258 now.”
SignHealth provides psychological therapy for common mental health problems, directly without the need of interpreters, using our team of qualified BSL therapists, both deaf and hearing, offering people a choice of therapist and communication style.
SignHealth Communications Office:
Telephone: 020 3947 2600
Notes to editors
About SignHealth: SignHealth is the Deaf health charity led by Deaf people for Deaf people, including our award-winning Board of Trustees. We are dedicated to making sure Deaf people get the same access to healthcare and health information as hearing people and we exist to improve Deaf people’s health and wellbeing through our social care services, psychological therapy and domestic abuse services.
Charity number: 1011056