Considering the figures out there that suggest that 40% of deaf children experience mental health problems, compared to 25% of their hearing peers, you would think that an interim report by an independent review team asked by the Government to look into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) might mention deaf children.
Nope. The interim report, published at the end of July, makes for an interesting reading and I’m sure it will improve services to children with mental health problems. And to be fair, the team have a huge range of issues to talk about and report does mention the difficulties faced by “vulnerable” children. But vulnerable children covers a pretty wide and diverse bunch of children – all of which will have quite specific needs.
I talked about issues relating to emotional well-being and deaf children in a previous blog. As well as being more likely to experience mental health problems, deaf children are also more likely to experience difficulty in accessing services due to communication difficulties and a lack of specialist knowledge and deaf awareness by staff. Unless you shine a spotlight on this, it’s unlikely that people who will be implementing the findings of the final CAMHS report will do anything about this.
So we’re disappointed. But all is not lost. The review is still collating and reading evidence (including our response to their call for evidence)and we’ve written to the review team to set out our initial concerns.
The review team has asked for feedback on their interim report so if you feel the same as us, you can also contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask how they’re going to consider the needs of deaf children.
The final report is due to be published in October this year and we’ll keep you informed of developments.