The British Society for Mental Health and Deafness (BSMHD)
is the only UK charity that focuses entirely on the promotion of positive mental health of Deaf people
Hear Deaf Mental Health Project in Wales
Our 'Hear Deaf Mental Health in Wales' 3 year project (2016 - 2019) was successfully completed in December 2019. During the 3 years, some of the highlights of the project were:
- We trained over 110 people in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
- Four deaf people became MHFA Instructors
- Over 40 people attended Mindfullness courses
- We supported nearly 70 people under the Mental Health Advocacy stream of the project which supported accessible services
- We were in partnership with Action on Hearing Loss, BDA Wales, Centre for Sign, Sight & Sound and Training in Mind/MHFA (Wales)
Our thanks are due to the Community Fund (previously Big Lottery) for the great help and advise.
Herbert Klein, Our President
Herbert Klein our President is the recipient of the BDA's Frances Maginn Award.
Coronavirus Impact Guidance for GPs
Welcome to a new feature!
At a time of crisis BSMHD is working to raise awareness of mainstream professionals to make sure that Deaf people and people with hearing loss are not excluded.
We have written a guidance document for GPs. If you want a download of the guidance document for your local GP it can be found here.
Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) are significantly more likely than the general population to have poorer mental and physical health. They experience higher levels of stress and more difficulties accessing health information and services.
The Covid-19 crisis has accentuated the health inequalities faced by Deaf people. The difficulties in accessing reliable information in BSL means that they may also be at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 and passing it on.
- A new interpreting service: https://www.bslhealthaccess.co.uk/
is now being provided by Signhealth and Interpreter Now. Easy to use and free for all medical services!
What you can do to support mental well-being for Deaf BSL users (you may already be doing some of these)
- Ensure that your surgery is accessible to Deaf people. For example, consider using text messaging; accepting phone calls from Relay UK, using Skype / FaceTime / WhatsApp / Zoom to make appointments; accepting phone calls from third parties e.g. BSL interpreters speaking for a Deaf BSL user to make appointments.
- Place an introductory video in BSL on your website to explain how Deaf people can contact you at this time.
- If you already have an arrangement for providing BSL interpreters please continue to use this especially for appointments on the phone. If not, then there is a new BSLHealthAccess (See News Update)
- Remind your Deaf patients that the NHS 111 website is accessible with a BSL facility.
- Consider how your Deaf patients can renew their prescriptions – some will walk or drive to the surgery to renew their prescription because they can’t make an appointment by telephone.
- Contact your local social services or council to get in touch with community groups of Deaf BSL users. They are often likely to provide informal support.
- Deaf Community Action – Deaf BSL users are helping other Deaf BSL users to download apps such as Zoom or WhatsApp
- Deaf Community Action – Deaf BSL have set up a Stay at Home community on Facebook
If you are worried about a Deaf patient’s mental health:
- Check the advice from the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health: https://www.jcpmh.info/good-services/services-deaf-people/
- For a service in your region, check BSMHD’s list of contacts: https://www.BSMHD/2020/05/05/new-list-of-mental-health-services/
Our aim is to promote mental health wellbeing for Deaf BSL users and People with Hearing Loss – getting the communication right is often crucial for the wellbeing.