SIGN has launched a new health promotion campaign - please have a look at the web-site :
Reaching Deaf Minds is about access to primary care in the first instance, removing the stigma attached to mental health and improving the emotional welfare of deaf people wherever they are. The key to mental well-being is access to information, support and access to communication.
Posters have been designed as part of the campaign. They can be ordered from SIGN free of charge. Please place them in common rooms or corridors to draw attention to these important issues. Mental health problems are more common in deaf people than in their hearing counterparts, probably because of the stress of experiencing deafness in a hearing world and the responses to deafness. The deaf youngster's environment and barriers to services cause isolation. A lot could be done to reduce these difficulties through removing barriers to access to services providing communication support installing text phones training staff to use and maintain text phones training in deaf awareness and sign language providing accessible information materials.
The absence of these steps all play a role in making it stressful for deaf people to use the NHS. Without having easy access to GP services mental health problems can be exacerbated and their effect prolonged.
The campaign will work with other charities to highlight the needs of deaf people and draw attention to examples of good and bad practice with a view to raising service standards and awareness. It is planned to persuade decision-makers of the need to plan improved access for deaf people as part of their performance plans and to encourage PCTs to involve deaf people in planning and consultation exercises.
The web site encourages readers to provide case examples of how they were treated in the NHS. These case histories can be helpful in illustrating a more fundamental policy issue, they can serve as a backcloth to the campaign. Examples of good practice can be disseminated to other practitioners to ensure that learning gets disseminated. Examples of poor practice can serve to highlight areas for improvement.
Please contact Matthew James, Deputy Chief Executive, for further information.
Sign Charity, 5, Baring Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2NB
Voice: 01494 687600
Minicom: 01494 687626
Fax: 01494 687622
BATOD members were invited to complete the questionnaire included with this Magazine when it first appeared in September 2003. The questionnaire is also available on the web-site. In addition, SIGN would like to hear more specifically about the needs of pupils and young learners for support with mental health problems and any responses by the health system.
Deputy Chief Executive, SIGN