An Evaluation of Specialist Mental Health Services for Deaf Children and Young People
Beresford, B., Greco, V., Clarke, S. and Sutherland, H.
Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, York
Deaf children are at increased risk for mental health difficulties compared with their hearing peers. Access to high quality, effective mental health services is a key standard of the Children's National Service Framework. There is evidence, however, that deaf children are not accessing mental health support and that generic CAMHS do not have the necessary skills or expertise, such as being able to meet a child's communication needs, and being knowledgeable about deafness and the relationship between mental health and deafness.
The first specialist mental health service for deaf children was established in London in 1991. In 2004, two further services (in the West Midlands and York) were funded to extend access. An innovative aspect of this network was the use of teleconferencing (known as the telelink) to facilitate case management and supervision between services, and to allow, where appropriate, children referred to the West Midlands and York services the opportunity to work with a clinical psychologist based in the London service who was fluent in British Sign Language (BSL).
Data collected by the research project, supplemented by information collected routinely by the clinics, were used to evaluate the services.
The report and summary can be downloaded from