Journal Explores Mental Health Burden of Deafness

Poor communication persists between deaf people and mental health professionals, according to a review and an editorial published by the influential medical journal The Lancet.

The Lancet focused in its latest issue on the mental health of deaf people in Britain, with a review, commentary, and related editorial describing the communication barriers they face when encountering professionals in mental health services. A 2004 survey showed that one-third of British Sign Language users avoided visiting their general practitioner because of communication problems, and this problem persists in the mental health arena, as well, according to the highly respected British medical journal.

"Because of communication problems, deaf people face barriers to health care before they even reach the consultation room," the editorial states. "Care pathways are not always joined up: for example, it is difficult in many parts of the UK for deaf patients to access the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme or counselling services via primary care. Then there is the matter of arranging an appointment. Without adequate provision of email and text software, deaf patients must spend a great deal of time and effort going to the clinic to book in person. Even when the patient has arrived for the appointment and is sitting in the waiting room, something as simple as indicating when the clinician is free may not be done effectively by reception staff. During the consultation, the difficulties multiply. As Andrew Alexander and colleagues state in their Comment, lip-reading is not reliable, writing notes is inadequate, and British Sign Language interpreters are scarce."

Saying technology including webcams and online interpreting may help, it urges clinicians first and foremost to allow sufficient time for the consultation, adding that a deaf clinical network of the type proposed by SignHealth, an advocacy group trying to improve the health of deaf people, also may help deaf patients overcome poor communication caused by fragmented health services. SignHealth's chief executive, Steve Powell, is a co-author of the commentary published by the journal.

Download Center

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2021

    October 2021

    Featuring:

    • TRAINING
      On Route To Safe Material Handling
    • SAFETY CULTURE
      Normalization of Deviations in Performance
    • IH:INDOOR AIR QUALITY
      Arresting Fugitive Dusts
    • PPE:FOOT PROTECTION
      Safety Shoes Make the Outfit for Well-Protected Workers
    View This Issue