Deaf mental health awareness event brings community together

Nearly a hundred people gathered to discuss mental health issues within the deaf community at Erewash Voluntary Action in Long Eaton.

The day was organised by Derbyshire Mental Health Forum, Communications Unlimited and Erewash Voluntary Action, and featured speakers on a range of topics, including IAT delivered by SignHealth and Suicide Prevention delivered by Derbyshire County Council.

The agenda covered a wide range of issues, including access to different services and obstacles faced by deaf people when access health and care. Deaf people were a key part of the event, making presentations and contributing extensively to break-out sessions to examine particular challenges.

A number of follow-up meetings have been organised with different care commissioners and providers to identify ways in which services can be improved or Communications Unlimited’s Alison Jones said the event was an important one for the community and for health and care providers: “Deaf people face a lot of barriers to access services every day, but these services can be a matter of life and death. A deaf person taken to the Emergency Department should not be mainly worried about whether they will be able to make themselves understood.

“Equally, there are some excellent initiatives, such as 999 BSL, which help deaf people in an emergency. We need to increase awareness of such services.

“The event in Erewash was very powerful, because it raised a lot of issues which will help those who organise and run health and care services to further improve access. There is a lot of willingness to do this, and we hope events like this will help. Working in collaboration we will strive to remove the barriers Deaf people face and increase access to local specialist services”