Housing Support Work - Tom's Story
There are many rewards to my job. Being a small team, it is really great to see our contributions are noticed.
SignHealth provides a psychological therapy service for Deaf people delivered in British Sign Language (BSL). All of our trained therapists are either Deaf or fluent BSL users. We can also cater for those who communicate by lip reading or those who require deaf-blind communication.
We are the only IAPT compliant therapy provider serving Deaf people.
We support Deaf people who use BSL as well as those who do not sign. They must be aged over 18 and living in England or Wales. We can match Deaf people with a therapist to suit their communication needs and we can support those experiencing:
We offer IAPT steps 2 and 3, as well as having some secondary care step 4 clinical psychology available. Our range of treatments and interventions are tailored to suit the patient’s needs. Depending on circumstances and availability we may be able to offer counselling, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), couples therapy, CfD (Counselling for Depressions), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and guided self-help. These services can be delivered either face-to-face or online.
This typically lasts one hour once a week in a private room. We try and use a therapy room as close as we possibly can in a range of different venues.
Patients can talk one-to-one with a therapist in BSL, using secure video calls. Online messaging is used to support the sessions, for example, if it is necessary to share a link or if the patient does not understand a sign. The patient will have a one-hour video call with a therapist each week. This may be for an agreed number of sessions or ongoing. We schedule a video chat test before the first online therapy appointment to ensure that the patient is able get online.
Our online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) course in British Sign Language (BSL) is focused around anxiety and depression. The six-week course features subtitled BSL videos, with each session lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. There will also be tasks to do between sessions e.g. keeping a diary, practising new behaviours.
Our team of qualified therapists have the skills and cultural understanding to provide one-to-one therapy for Deaf people. All our therapists are either Deaf or fluent BSL users. Some can also support Deaf people who do not sign. This improves communication and makes it easier for the patient and the therapist to form a relationship.
Deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety compared to hearing people. This situation is exacerbated by the difficulty they face in accessing psychological therapy. When they visit health services they often experience communication barriers which can make their symptoms worse.
Research suggests that the best treatment for people suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety is ‘talking therapy’. This therapy method relies on 1-1 communication, but for Deaf people, this is problematic. The moment an interpreter is involved, the conversation becomes less intimate and less effective for the patient.
You can refer a Deaf adult in England and Wales to our Therapy Service by submitting this online referral form.
Deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This situation is exacerbated by the difficulty we face in accessing support and the challenge of communicating through interpreters during therapy sessions.
We are uniquely placed to offer therapy that can make a real difference, and improve Deaf people’s health and wellbeing.