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Time to improve Deaf people's wellbeing

GDA seeks to improve Deaf people’s health and wellbeing

On Wednesday 27th March, Deaf people from across the county gathered at local Deaf charity, GDA, for a Better Health Day.

The day was an opportunity for Gloucestershire’s Deaf community, whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL), to learn more about what wellbeing services are available for them; to learn how to live healthier lives, and to have their say about the difficulties they face when accessing health services.

A number of workshops took place over the day, covering a range of topics from men’s health and eating well, to caring for a deaf person with dementia.

Among those attending the day were key stakeholders including The 2gether Trust, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS and Workplace Health MOT.

Reg Cobb, GDA’s Project Development Manager said We’ve known for a very long time that Deaf people have been battling to get better access to health care, including mental health services. Reports around Deaf health, show that 40 percent of Deaf people experience poor mental health and sadly, suicide in the Deaf community is an ever-growing concern. Our experience tells us that this is due largely to communication barriers, which in turn can have a devastating impact on their relationships, social interactions, education and employment. Too many services in Gloucestershire are not accessible which is why an event like the Better Health Day is so important in trying to change practices to ensure they can be more accessible going forward. We have been delighted with the response from our Deaf community as well as the medical professionals who also attended, and hope that this event is the starting block to bridging the gap between society and deafness, especially in Gloucestershire.”

Jan Marriott, Independent Co-Chair at the Gloucestershire Physical Disability and Sensory Impairments Partnership Board said “I was privileged to spend the morning at the excellent Better Health Day at GDA.  Over the past few months GDA have been educating me on the problems deaf people face in accessing and understanding the services that are available.  As a hearing person it was humbling to hear how people manage to cope and I am delighted the NHS and others are beginning to develop strong relationships with GDA in order to improve the way we can better meet the needs of people who are deaf and hard of hearing.”

Sarah Sharp, Patient Advise and Liaison (PALS) Advisor, added “It was good to get a feel for what patients with hearing loss encounter within healthcare and what kind of improvements still need to be made to make the journey through our hospitals easier.”

The event on the 27th March was funded by NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and organised and led by GDA. A big thank you to Karen Taylor, Project Manager from the Integrated Disabilities Commissioning Hub for helping secure the funding. The aim is now to host a series of smaller workshops, each covering physical and mental health topics in more detail for both BSL users and hearing of hearing people. 


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