For many years people and organisations have been advocating for improved access for Deaf people to mental health and addiction (MH&A) support. In 2020, the Ministry of Health (MoH) agreed to fund a role to determine:
Platform is hosting this work which will be led by Jo Witko.
The project will focus on five key areas (discussed in more detail on the project goals page):
COVID-19 and lockdown
MH&A promotion and literacy
MH&A Workforce Development
MH&A Service Development
Deaf people face barriers at all stages in the health and mental health system as most practitioners have little experience of sign language users.
Research has found the Deaf community has a higher risk and incidence of mental distress, a higher need for mental health services and a perception that current mental health services are inaccessible and inadequate. This is why we need change.
Deaf culture and language are central to the wellbeing of Deaf people. A lack of experience and understanding by practitioners can lead to a misdiagnoses and long periods of costly, ineffective care or simply no support.
The purpose of this paper is to provide context about Platform’s involvement and role, and our aspirations for the Deaf mental health and addiction work programme.
This paper has been translated into NZSL with the following series of videos (a combined clip is at the bottom).