health staff working with deaf people should learn sign language,
by staff reporter
mental health staff working with deaf people should be taught sign
language, the government has announced.
language translation should also be available in every GP practice
recommendations were contained in best practice guidance issued
by ministers. It sets out how the government plans to improve mental
health services for deaf people.
government said it hopes primary care trusts will pay for the new
services with £2.5 million it has allocated specifically.
Department of Health guidance document also includes the recommendation
that front-line NHS staff being given deaf-awareness training.
indicates there is a higher rate of mental health problems among
deaf people compared to hearing people.
studies have reported that 40 per cent of deaf children have mental
health problems, compared to 25 per cent of hearing children.
Deaf people with mental health problems are also over-represented
in prisons and the criminal justice system.
issuing the guidance last week Health Minister Rosie Winterton said:
"This document brings into focus the needs of individuals whose
access to mental health services have for too long been patchy.
deaf people with mental health problems have not had their needs
properly catered for by existing mental health services.
implementation of this guidance should result in a real improvement
in the lives of deaf people with mental health problems."
of Health guidance: Mental Health and Deafness - Towards Equity
and Access: Best Practice Guidance (pdf)
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