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Our resources include the largest library of BSL health videos. Search for medical and mental health conditions, domestic abuse topics, and first aid advice.

For hearing users, we have materials to learn about deafness and tips for better communication with patients.

Or learn more about our research into the health inequalities that exist for Deaf people in the UK.

SignHealth has three key asks for the next government

Invest in deaf mental health services for all ages

Mental health services for deaf people are underfunded and often lack comprehensive pathways and specialist provisions. The absence of dedicated services and trained specialists means that deaf people face significant barriers in accessing appropriate mental health care. The Shaping the Future of deaf mental health report highlights these barriers and demonstrates the urgent need for increased investment to ensure that mental health support is accessible and effective for deaf people of all ages.

Include deaf people in decision-making

Involving deaf people in the design and delivery of healthcare services ensures these services meet their needs. By incorporating the insights and experiences of deaf people, healthcare providers can develop a deeper understanding of the unique challenges faced by this community. This collaborative approach leads to the creation of healthcare services fit for purpose, improving access and outcomes for deaf patients. The NHS England Rapid Review of British Sign Language Interpreting Services includes 17 recommendations for Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to follow, offering guidance on effectively engaging with the deaf community and ensuring their needs are met.

Increase access to healthcare for all deaf people

Deaf people frequently encounter significant barriers in accessing healthcare, resulting in inequitable treatment. Our Review of the Accessible Information Standard reveals that many deaf people struggle to make appointments, often arrive at appointments without the necessary support, and face difficulties in lodging complaints. These obstacles highlight the need for systemic changes to ensure that healthcare services are fully accessible to deaf people, providing them with the same quality of care available to the hearing population. When referring to “equity” we recognise that each person has different circumstances and that the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome should be allocated.

Fantastic to have our Children and Young People’s Team involved in the making of these videos because we want to see these changes in place for the deaf community today and for generations to come.

Key Documents

Mental Health

We believe that there needs to be a greater level of investment in deaf mental health services for all ages: children, young people and adults. This should include services provided via BSL in community environments such as schools and therapy centres as well as online.

July 2023

Co-produced report with recommendations about what needs to happen for there to be true equality in deaf mental health support.

May 2017

A guide by the Joint Commissioning Panel
for Mental Health with evidence-based guidelines about mental health services for deaf people.

Domestic Abuse

Deaf victims and survivors of domestic abuse have specific needs that need to be considered – especially the need to have provision in BSL. We are incredibly proud of the services we offer in this space. In the future, more domestic abuse services should be inclusive of deaf people; police and health professionals should have greater awareness of the deaf community and there should be better data on violence against women and girls from the deaf community.

March 2023

Research supported by SignHealth, Manchester Deaf Centre and Pankhurst Trust.

April 2020

Written Evidence Submitted by SignHealth (MRS0215) to the Women and Equalities Committee.

November 2021

Home Affairs Select Committee: Inquiry into Violence Against Women and Girls.

August 2021

Written evidence submitted by SignHealth (VAW0042).

Access to health care

It is vital to ensure fair access to health services for all deaf people. Whether it be GP surgeries, dentists, specialists or hospitals, it is crucial that deaf people are able to access treatment and support in ways that suit their needs. This includes the use of BSL, interpretation, captions and accessible written information.

May 2024

An article in the Guardian highlighting our concerns about the lack of implementation of changes to the Accessible Information Standard.

August 2020

SignHealth conducted a survey asking deaf people about the impacts of the pandemic on mental health, healthcare and information accessibility. 

February 2022

Urgent priorities for change, informed by patients’ lived experience and NHS professionals.

August 2016

The standard is a legal obligation that ensures the accessibility of health information and support.

Health inequalities for Deaf people

Sick Of It is SignHealth’s ground-breaking report uncovering the health disparities Deaf people face in the UK. Published in 2014, the report has influenced policy and changed practices in the NHS to improve communication and reduce barriers.

Other useful sources

The READY Study is an ongoing study conducted by the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh into the quality of life and challenges facing young deaf people in the UK.

How healthy are Deaf people?

Sick Of It is SignHealth’s ground-breaking report uncovering the health disparity Deaf people face in the UK. Published in 2014, the report has influenced policy and changed practices in the NHS to improve communication and reduce barriers.

Report: Sick Of It