Measuring Humanity with the Deaf Community through Comedy

Historically, the difficulties facing the Deaf community when attempting to access health and mental health services have not been adequately recognised. Many individuals face barriers, with health services primarily organised around hearing and talking. This poses challenges for both the Deaf population and medical professionals.

Evidence suggests that Deaf people are three times more likely to have mental health problems than the general population, due to isolation, lack of language skills, poor education and risk of abuse. These issues, which were highlighted in our recent blog post by a member of the Deaf community, emphasise the need to engage with this community; to explore in greater detail the barriers they face, and to investigate ways of co-producing appropriate services.

Funded by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC), ‘Measuring Humanity with the Deaf Community’ involves using music comedy to evidence health inequalities. By engaging with the Deaf community’s most famous comedian, John Smith, we attempt to utilise comedy in the following ways: to help shape new legislation (the BSL (Scotland) Act); inform the Act’s national, strategic and local action plans; establish unmet needs of British Sign Language (BSL) users in relation to mental health; improve Deaf people’s knowledge of mental health services and co-produce appropriate services; and establish Best Practice in mental health services/prevention for BSL.