Review: Modernising Mental Health Services For People Who Are Deaf

The article reviewed here is ‘Modernising Mental Health Services For People Who Are Deaf’ – the consultation document and freely available here. I may have missed it, but I couldn’t find the date of publication in the PDF although I inferred from the references used that it was around 2001. On the webpage, it states that the consultation closed on 25.10.2002.

There is an introduction by former Minister of State for Health Jacqui Smith. The Executive Summary then gives a helpful overview of the document. Essentially the document is divided into for parts – the background, the issues, an examination of the National Service Framework in relation to deaf people. The document refers to a specific group of people with hearing impairment:-

A Sign of the Times concerns the smaller group of people, of all ages, known as the ‘Deaf community’ for whom sign language is their first language

The book recently reviewed by Oliver Sacks (see here) describes the sophisticated culture that has developed in a deaf community who use signing for communication. While there is a considerable group of elderly people who have developed hearing impairment as older adults, the use of the spoken word by this group presents a different set of challenges for health service provision from the former group.

Having summarised the document very effectively in the executive summary, the authors use a structured approach in the third section of the document by working through the standards in the National Service Framework for Mental Health. They discuss the standards and then identify possible ways in which difficulties might be encountered in ensuring these standards are met foEditr the deaf community. A number of solutions for these difficulties are then considered. The fourth section of the document then considers the way forward looking at the way in which services can be provided including the role of local and specialist care providers as well as integration of service delivery. It was interesting to see a number of innovative suggestions for utilising resources.

This consultation document considers a large number of issues relevant to the effective delivery of mental health services to deaf people including solutions to improving service delivery.


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The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


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