Charity calls for deaf children’s mental health services

National Death Children's SocietyThe National Deaf Children’s Society has joined forces with the Scottish Council on Deafness to launch the ‘Helping Hand’ campaign, backed by Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker. The campaign, which launched on Tuesday, asks the Scottish Government to provide mental health services for deaf children and young people in Scotland.

“Being deaf is not just about ears and education. Emotional support is just as important,” said Anne Lennon, Director of the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) in Scotland.

“Quite often a deaf child can feel very isolated and alone, and without the right support they can often develop mental health problems. We want to see more chances for deaf children to have access to positive role models, a dedicated specialist Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for deaf children and young people who do need extra help, and improved deaf awareness in all schools across Scotland. With the right support deaf children and young people can achieve whatever they want to achieve.”

MSP Mr Walker said: “I am very glad to support this campaign, which seeks to build on existing services in order to provide specialised mental health provision for deaf children and young people.”

It is estimated that there are approximately 3500 deaf children and young people in Scotland. But there are currently no mental health services for deaf children and young people in Scotland. NDCS and the Scottish Council on Deafness have created the Deaf Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (DCAMHS) group, which launched Helping Hand after it found 40% of deaf children are likely to experience mental health problems compared to 25% of other children.

Deafness itself is not a risk factor for increased mental health and emotional wellbeing issues. It is the consequence of being deaf in a hearing-orientated world that can lead to feelings of isolation and to mental health and emotional issues. It is widely recognised that deaf children experience a higher risk of psychological, behavioural and emotional issues than other children.

NDCS is calling on members of the public to email their MSPs and urge them to support the Helping Hand campaign, by visiting www.ndcs.org.uk/helpinghand.

Katie Rafferty, NDCS Policy  & Campaign Officer in Scotland, with Bill Walker MSP

Katie Rafferty, NDCS Policy & Campaign Officer in Scotland, with Bill Walker MSP

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