Other shortlisted practices 2014

Accessible mental health service for deaf persons

This project identifies/addresses the complex mental health needs of persons with hearing impairments and with guidance from the deaf community to allow equity of access to all MH services previously underused.

The service is also involved in promoting access to all Mental Health Services for our clients and in the strategic development of services for our client group

Martin CREED
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Mental health service for deaf people
Organisation:Northern Ireland Mental Health and Deafness Service
of origin
Northern Ireland
Beneficiaries targeted Deaf persons
Approach/ model/ solution:Making mental health services accessible for deaf people by training professionals


  • Awards won: Health Promotion Agency ‘Investors in People’ Award 2012, Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year ‘Bamford Vision Award’ runners up 2012
  • Poster presentation at the 9th Annual Mental Health Conference ‘Growing Strong in the Face of Life’s Storms’. University of Ulster 2012.
  • Development of a “Mental Health and Deafness” DVD


Prior to the initial 2003 service, the vast majority of deaf people in Northern Ireland faced major accessibility problems and unmet needs in their mental health leading to long-term untreated problems, isolation, and frustration.


The mental health service for deaf people identified the exact MH needs of this target group and acted on its views, re-service development and appropriate communication concerning their special needs. Mechanisms were established for feedback to MH services. Promotional/training materials in sign language were developed and professionals were trained in MH needs of deaf persons.


The Mental Health Service expanded to address deaf persons. An expert assessment, intervention and consultation service was developed which is evaluated by deaf service users and their carers. A multi-disciplinary/agency advisory group informs the MH service and is instrumental in developing material to address accessibility and equity issues. The group works across all adult programs including learning disability, older adults etc. with providing regional outreach clinics, home visits and liaison. They also offer consultation and training to colleagues working with deaf clients. Deaf signers with mental health difficulties are their core group but the service also sees anyone referred whose deafness is significant to them.

The cover of the “Mental Health and Deafness” DVD The cover of the “Mental Health and Deafness” DVD © The Mental Health and Deafness Service


Mr. Martin CREED
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Fairview One.Mater Hospital, 47-51 Crumlin Road.
Belfast. Co Antrim.BT14 6AB, Northern Ireland
+44 2890737542

Nominated by: Mary OBRIEN, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust