Who is the service for?
The Specialist Deaf Service works with deaf people who are experiencing significant mental or emotional distress. We work with both British Sign Language (BSL) users and people who do not use sign language, including those who have become deaf later in life.
We are currently unable to provide a service to people suffering from age related hearing loss.
Currently the Specialist Deaf Service is available to deaf service users across the Trust although funding will be required for people who live outside the Bristol CCG area. Referrals typically come through GPs and new assessments are done in collaboration with local assessment teams.
What does the service do?
The Specialist Deaf Service can provide specialist assessment, therapy and consultation to deaf people and their carers and other professionals working with deaf people with mental health needs. We can work directly in British Sign Language and have other communication skills to ensure people's needs are assessed and addressed as effectively as possible.
We work closely with Bristol City Council Sensory Support Service and other voluntary organisations such as SignHealth to ensure that deaf service users are given information about the range of other support services available in the local and wider community.
We also work closely with Lift Psychology who are developing a specialist wellbeing services to deaf people who experience difficulties such as anxiety, depression or stress and who want to improve their general wellbeing.
We have close links with the specialist National Deaf Mental Health Services in Edgbaston and with voluntary organisations such as SignHealth which also offer services such as counselling and advocacy.
Our goal is to work collaboratively with deaf people to help them develop new skills and feel more in control of their lives.
The service plays an important role in providing information, consultation and advice around the mental health needs of deaf people. We are also active in a local initiative, the Deaf Wellbeing Project, which aims to improve understanding of emotional wellbeing and good mental health in the local deaf community through regular workshops, events and information days.
How to contact us
In order to receive support from mental health services it is best to see your GP and explain the difficulties that you are having. If your GP feels you need mental health support then they will make a referral to mental health services on your behalf.