Logo for Signhealth, the deaf charity

Search the site

When Claire became depressed she was referred to a hearing therapist – a person who didn’t understand her culture or background as a Deaf woman. Claire explains why she would benefit from therapy delivered in British Sign Language (BSL).

Claire first became depressed following the births of her two children. After the birth of her second child her depression became worse and she struggled to cope. Yet she knew that she needed to control her life for the sake of herself and her family.

“I tried to switch off, I tried to move on. I had to for my two children, I had to focus on them.”

Claire hid her depression from the rest of the world; only she and her partner knew how desperate she was. She was becoming more and more isolated, spending time alone at home with the children and hiding from the outside world.

“I felt uncomfortable going out. I felt people were looking at me and I became paranoid that they knew something was wrong.”

Claire knew she needed to solve her problems so that she could return to her normal self and enjoy life again. She was referred to a hearing therapist and was pleased that an interpreter had been organised. However, when the therapy started she didn’t find it easy. Her therapist had never delivered therapy via an interpreter and communication broke down. To make things worse, Claire felt uncomfortable as she knew her interpreter from college.

“The doctor would listen to me and then respond by asking questions using really complex English. It made no sense to me.  He wasn’t matching my needs as a Deaf person at all.” 

Claire feels she would benefit from seeing a deaf therapist who could communicate with her in her own language and understand her culture and concerns.

“If I had the opportunity to see a deaf therapist, it’s a real possibility that my symptoms would improve. I’d be able to express all my worries and problems in my own language… it would be so much easier to answer questions and talk.”

Support SignHealth

You can help us reach more people who need therapy in their own language. Please consider giving to SignHealth today.

Sadly for many people like Claire, accessing therapy in BSL can be difficult. Many have to wait months to get an appointment and in some areas funding is not available.

“We need to see deaf therapists faster so that our lives can get back on track sooner. Having the chance to talk about how I’m feeling will help me so much. I’ll get my identity back.”