Project information

Breaking the cycle of preventable mental health

SignHealth Psychological Therapy - training counsellors specialised in British Sign Language (BSL) to give deaf people the support they need to help break the cycle of more severe mental health situations.

This is ongoing.

Charity information


SignHealth logo
  • Need


    The consequence of social and linguistic deprivation in childhood, is mental health problems later in life. Deaf people are much more likely to be diagnosed with depression anxiety, personality disorder or as having behavioural, adjustment or attachment problems.


    SignHealth provides a specialist BSL counselling service - the only one of its kind in the UK. However, with only 24 BSL-fluent therapists, we currently don't have the capacity to reach even half the number of Deaf people in the UK who need therapy. We are therefore training 20 Deaf students throughout the UK to become counsellors for Deaf people. Once qualified, they will be able to join our current counselling team, however we urgently need to raise funds in order to complete this training.

  • Aims

    Aim 1



    » Trust is paramount to enable a therapeutic relationship to develop. Working one-to-one with a client in BSL ensures the alliance is developed quickly.


    Aim 2

    Two people


    » Having a third person (interpreter) in the room potentially means the relationship develops between the client and interpreter.


    Aim 3

    Deaf awareness


    » Having therapists who do not use BSL and have no cultural awareness will miss vital clues when working with a Deaf client.


    Aim 4

    Lower cost


    » Counselling in BSL with a fluent therapist is cheaper because no interpreters are needed to attend sessions.


  • Impact


    We work in primary care and liaise with non-specialist Primary Care MHTs and other specialist Deaf Mental Heath services in order to provide an appropriate psychological therapy service for the Deaf individual.




    We are always happy to report back to donor organisations on the progress of our projects.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £25,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £25,000 Counselling Counselling

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Rayne Foundation £20,000 Guaranteed
    Allan and Nesta Furguson Charitable Settlement £10,000 Guaranteed
    39 regional and national grant-making Trusts £65,680 Guaranteed
  • Background




    Deaf people who are suffering from mental health issues.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    As the national healthcare charity for Deaf people, our concern is for the physical and mental wellbeing of this minority group. We provide services such as psychological therapy to those who need specialist support in their own language. The training that our students are undergoing - a diploma in integrative counselling delivered in British Sign language - represents the first of its kind in the UK.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    BSL Counsellors