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Deaf people frustrated over access to mental health help

Deaf people are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems, according to a report by the All Wales Deaf Mental Health and Wellbeing Group. 

The report was produced as the group discovered that 40% of Deaf people experience mental health problems, this is twice that of hearing individuals – with Wales being the only UK country that does not provide a clear pathway or service to meet the needs of Deaf people experiencing poor mental health.

The findings include that deaf people often experience limited access to health, as well as education, negative societal attitudes and reduced opportunities in work and leisure areas of life.

person wearing silver framed eyeglasses

The report also looks at how deaf people must battle to access mental health services, especially in Wales.

South Wales has no specialised Deaf mental health network, and the service in North Wales has dissolved. As a result of this, many Deaf patients requiring in-patient care are referred to England, which can come at a great financial cost both to themselves, but also families, social networks, and the health service.

The All Wales Deaf Mental Health and Wellbeing Group are therefore recommending solutions such as increasing health and care workers’ knowledge of basic British Sign Language, Deaf patients going directly to Deaf counselling services, an accessible helpline, and signposting services.

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