Globally Deaf people’s health is often poorer than their hearing counterparts due to lack of available information in Sign Language as well as the lack of Deaf awareness amongst hearing health professionals and wider society. Research suggests that Deaf people are twice as likely to experience a mental illness due to social issues including isolation and lack of tailored Deaf mental health services. This health disparity is often exacerbated in low to middle income countries. As a Deaf community member and former NHS Deaf mental health adviser, these issues are professionally and personally important to me.
For over 30 years, much of my work has focused on improving Deaf mental health services in the NHS whilst I was employed as a Deaf Advisor for National Deaf Services at South West London and St. George’s Mental Health NHS Trust. I have worked with the Department of Health, King’s College London, the University of Birmingham, the British Society for Mental Health and Deafness (President), the European Society of Mental Health and Deafness (Ambassador).
I am now retired from working within the NHS and am focusing a substantial amount of work within Indonesia where approximately 40 million Deaf people live across the country’s 17,000 islands and use Indonesian Sign Language (BISINDO). However many Deaf Indonesian people are living in and dealing with isolation, oppression, discrimination, little communication and no expert clinical professional training in Deaf issues. In order to assist with improving the situation I am currently:
· Working with the Deaf Indonesian community via the Indonesian Association for the Welfare of the Deaf (Gerkatin), to raise awareness about the importance of their own mental health and reducing the associated stigma
· Consulting with the Indonesian government regarding how to tailor their mental health services in order to better meet the needs of Deaf people
· Building up Deaf awareness within a network of Indonesian support agencies so they can learn more about the Deaf community and their unique mental health needs
I am raising funds in order to continue and develop these much needed projects.
If you are interested in supporting this important work donations can be made to GoFundMe
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