Deaf mental health services

Mental health - disabled people and Deaf people

Date published: 
11 April 2017

Key facts

  • Disabled people and Deaf people are more likely to experience mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Deaf people are twice as likely to suffer from depression as hearing people.
  • More than one in ten adult Londoners has some form of impairment.
  • There are over a million people with hearing loss, including over 80,000 profoundly or severely Deaf people in London.
  • There are 175,000 people living with sight loss in London.
  • There are around 469,000 Londoners with a degree of mobility impairment.

Our findings

The London Assembly Health Committee investigated how the Mayor of London can better support better mental health for disabled people and Deaf people. This investigation forms part of a wider investigation into mental health inequalities for a number of marginalised groups.

Disabled people and Deaf people face considerable difficulty accessing the mental health support they need:

  • Deaf people told us that their frustration at communication barriers is sometimes mistaken for aggression by health professionals.
  • The NHS website has over 900 health-related videos, yet just one is available in British Sign Language (BSL).
  • Mental health services are not always accessible to disabled people and Deaf people - facilities may not be adapted to support people with mobility impairments.
  • 92 per cent of blind and partially sighted people surveyed received no emotional support at the time of diagnosis.

Watch: Report summary in British Sign Language (BSL)


  • The Mayor should help commission pan-London communications support for Deaf Londoners and those with learning disabilities.
  • The Mayor and London Health Board should look closely at issues around employment, housing, crime and transport, to ensure disabled people and Deaf people are given control and choice over their lives.
  • The Mayor and the London Health Board should capture data on physical and sensory impairment across London, in order to assess need. Mental health trusts should also audit how well services meet the needs of disabled people and Deaf people.

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