We come across lots of stories of deaf people taking their own lives. Many deaf people know of people who have committed suicide.
We were concerned that more deaf people were committing suicide than hearing people. If this was the case we wanted to know why and try to reduce the number. But when we tried to find out how many deaf people commit suicide we had a problem. There was no easy way of finding out whether there is a higher suicide rate among deaf people.
With funding from the Big Lottery, we worked with Manchester University to make a detailed study to see whether there had been any research done into deaf suicide. The study showed that – even internationally – there was no research that could be relied upon.
Without evidence of a higher suicide rate, there is little chance that health services will do much to focus on preventing suicide among deaf people. A lot of the risk factors associated with suicide exist among the deaf community – isolation, depression, etc. We will continue to try to establish the evidence and push for better services.
downloads and links
A summary of our study can be downloaded from here.
The full report, published in the Annals of Psychiatry, can be viewed here.