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April 11, 2005

Leading Deaf Charity Responds to "Towards Equity and Access: Mental Health and Deafness"

From: New Age Media Concepts - Apr 11, 2005

UK, (NAMC) - BID Services with Deaf People is a leading charity providing services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities around the Birmingham and West Midlands. As an organisation it welcomes the Government's commitment to the issues of Mental Health amongst the Deaf, as detailed in the document. The guidance also highlights the higher than average number of incidences of Mental Health issues amongst the Deaf and Hard of Hearing prison population.

Jo-Ann Moyles, Operations Director at BID, comments "It is crucial that the incidence of Deafness and Mental Health and the traditionally inadequate service has been recognised and has reached a wider community that has the power and influence to bring about change."

"The crux of this report appears to be fundamental awareness, communication and training amongst professionals, families and carers and accurate profiling of this specific client group."

She adds, "Deaf awareness training for all staff employed within the diagnostic process starting with the front line will reduce the risk of misdiagnosis and will enhance the early detection rates. This will allow for timely proactive and preventative intervention strategies."

"The legal framework underpinning this report has demonstrated that access and equity for Deaf people is not just a good practise issue but is the right of every Deaf person."

Jo-Ann believes that the recommendations made will go a long way to achieving the target for accessible, equitable services as long as there is a real and genuine commitment to implement them. "This commitment is rooted in economy and whilst the report acknowledged that additional costs will be incurred, the real test will be if this level of funding will be forthcoming, sufficient and sustained."

She concludes "The recommendations, in the long term make financial as well as moral sense if Deafness and Mental Health can be identified and managed more effectively resulting in service users being allowed and empowered to reach their full potential as active, participative, contributing citizens."

The guidance also relates to Mental Health of the Deaf Prison population, of interest to BID as it runs the only Deaf Prisons Project in the UK.

Steve Richardson, Prisons Project Manager for BID, believes that the guidelines could lead to better treatment all round for Deaf. He comments "The recommendations made in these Guidelines identify the need for Deaf Awareness training within the Prison Service. Currently a Deaf Prisoner is effectively serving a double sentence. For example, with little or no access to British Sign Language Interpreters a Deaf prisoner is highly unlikely to be able to take part in education courses. At a parole hearing this could be viewed as an unwillingness to change, therefore reducing the likelihood of parole."

"This causes isolation leading to depression and anxiety, which can exacerbate existing mental health problems or be the starting point for them."

"Ensuring awareness within the Prison Service will help to improve the overall treatment and rehabilitation of Deaf Prisoners, potentially leading to shorter terms in Prison, and a reduction in mental health problems."

Steve ends "With the commitment of funding and the acknowledgement of the issues we can begin to tackle the inequalities and work towards the right of equity for the Deaf in the field of Mental Health Services."

For further information about BID Services with Deaf People contact Ian Skelton, PR & Marketing Manager on 0121 246 6100, email e-mail protected from spam bots.

About BID Services with Deaf People: BID works to support the Deaf community in the West Midlands. It has travelled a long way from its modest beginnings in the latter part of the 19th Century, when its prime function was "to provide relief to Deaf people and attend to their spiritual needs".

BID has developed a reputation for providing innovative, high quality services to meet the many and varied needs of Deaf people. Today BID provides Care Management, Deaf Awareness, Support & Advice, Interpreting Services, and Youth Work amongst a growing portfolio of services.

Successful partnership and funding arrangements have been developed with colleges, housing associations, trusts, businesses and other organisations, which has helped BID to become more effective in pursuing its aims and objectives.

But still BID depends to a large extent upon private and voluntary donations to continue its work. Whether it's providing toys and videos for young Deaf children, or supporting Deaf people through interpreting or advocacy, we still need help – contact the Fundraising Department on 0121 246 6100 for information on how you can help.


Ian Skelton
0121 246 6100

© 2005 New Age Media Concepts
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