Video Transcript: Mental Health Services for Deaf People
The Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental
Health is a collaboration co-chaired by the Royal College of
General Practitioners and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which
brings together leading organisations to help publish a
series of short guides for people who commission mental health
services that describe ‘what good looks like’ in various mental
health service settings.
SignHealth is a charity dedicated to making sure Deaf people
receive the same sort of access as hearing people to healthcare and
health information. The charity has a range of projects, services
and campaigns, all aimed at improving the health of Deaf
Ten key messages for commissioners
These key messages are what every Commissioner should know when
commissioning primary care mental health services for Deaf
Deaf people face access and communication barriers in
healthcare, and have poorer mental and physical health than the
rest of the population.
Life experiences as a Deaf person in a hearing world, are unique
to Deaf people, and require different approaches to providing
primary mental health care. Commissioners should commission
appropriate cultural and linguistic provisions in services for Deaf
Everyone who uses mental health services should have equitable
access to effective interventions, and equitable experiences and
outcomes. Under the Equality Act 2010 Deaf people are included as
having ‘protected characteristics’.
Psychological therapy in BSL is as cost effective, if not more,
than a hearing therapist using a BSL/English interpreter.
Deaf people should be able to choose to receive primary care
psychological therapy services in BSL directly from a BSL
practitioner, without needing a sign language interpreter, if that
is their choice.
A comprehensive commissioning strategy is required to enable an
appropriate British Sign Language (BSL) Psychological Therapy
service to be available.
Commissioners need to ensure that Deaf people have a clear care
pathway equitable to the general population.
Where services are commissioned that require sign Language
interpretation, commissioners must ensure the provision of
interpreters is of high a standard, as highlighted in NHS England’s
Quality standards based on the Principles for High Quality
Interpreting and Translation Services in Primary Care 2016.
Commissioners need to include Deaf professionals in their
workforce planning strategy.
Deaf people need to be involved with the ongoing development of
Deaf primary care mental health services.
Who is this guide for?
This guide should be of value to:
- CCGs and local authorities who should be informed by the
principles highlighted in this guide
- Health and Wellbeing Boards
- Service providers across primary, secondary and tertiary
How will this guide help them?
By the end of this guide, readers should:
- be more familiar with the particular needs of Deaf people who
have mental health problems, including issues of access,
developmental difference, language and culture.
- understand what effective primary care mental health services
for Deaf people should look like.
- be aware of the range of services and interventions that should
be on offer.
- understand how those interventions can contribute to achieving
recovery outcomes and make improvements in public mental health and
Who has written the guide?
This guide has been written by a group with expertise and
experience in the mental health of Deaf people including both Deaf
and hearing professionals, academic researchers and in consultation
with Deaf patients and carers. The content is evidence-based and
includes guidelines deemed to be best practice by expert consensus
where the formal evidence-base may be lacking.