My Life My Health

Walsall & District Deaf Children’s Society is supporting a new health campaign this week to help encourage GPs and surgeries to become more deaf aware.
The National Deaf Children’s Society launched My life, My health on 4 February to help ensure deaf teenagers get the health support they need and deserve. The campaign has been developed with the help of the charity’s Young People’s Advisory Board – a group of 17 deaf young people from around the UK. 
Supported by the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health, it is the first health campaign of its kind led by deaf young people. More than 200 deaf children and young people from across the UK were consulted to find out about their experiences of using health services, including visiting their GP. The findings, published in a new report, suggest there is currently a worrying lack of deaf awareness in GP surgeries. 
Many health care professionals do not know how to communicate with a deaf child or young person. Surgeries do not always provide deaf friendly services, such as the option to book appointments by text message or visual display screens to announce appointments. It is vital all staff communicate clearly and that sign language interpreters are available to those who need them.
The My life, My health campaign highlights three key areas that need to be addressed: better deaf awareness; improved access to information and ensuring the right communication support is in place; supporting deaf teenagers to become more independent in managing their own health care.
James, Head of Walsall & District Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Young people have the right to high quality, accessible health care services. Yet the National Deaf Children’s Society’s findings indicate this is not always the case. We hope this campaign will highlight this important issue and encourage GPs to become more deaf aware. There are 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK so it is vital they receive the right health support from an early age, as this will also ensure they go on to become independent adults.”
The National Deaf Children’s Society and its Young People’s Advisory Board have created a range of resources for GPs, deaf teenagers and their parents, including top tips for GPs, and a wallet sized card that deaf teenagers can show their GP with details of their communication needs. 
Walsall & District Deaf Children’s Society will be helping disseminate these resources in Walsall and the surrounding area.   
My life, My health launches on 4 February. More information, including a campaign video and resources, can be found here.