History of Deaf Mental Health: Deaf Professionals

Deaf Professionals have a vital role in shaping mental health services for Deaf people and ensuring that services are culturally and linguistically affirmative.

Most studies focus on accessibility for Deaf people in healthcare settings but not so much is written about employment of Deaf professionals and their influential roles on continuing health care provision for deaf population.

30 years ago, it would be unimaginable to employ a Deaf person in health care, but data based on evidence showed that there is positive impact on deaf service users interacting with Deaf professionals.

Implicit in all of this is empowerment and leadership by asserting responsibility for their own proactive participation according to their lived experiences, qualifications, and linguistic and cultural preferences. Deaf professionals highlighted key areas such as importance of co-production with deaf service users in quality improvement and innovation projects that are directly shaping our services to provide not only accessibility and inclusion but also to continuously push boundaries to modernise deaf mental health care and beyond for deaf people with mental health issues and creating educational and employment opportunities for those following their steps. This presentation will focus on history of employment within National Health Service (NHS) in mental health settings in England, evidence-based examples of good practice; service users’ values related interaction with Deaf professionals, health management and decision-making based on preferred language and cultural competency.