Mental Health, Sensory Loss and Human Rights – the Transition Report calling for Sensory Literate Services

deafscotland, Deafblind Scotland, Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), Sight Scotland and the ALLIANCE agreed in January 2021 to co-produce this report to inform and change decision making. Through our practice and experience, we recognise communication poverty is increased by decisions on policy, funding and service delivery which cause poor mental health and stop people accessing support. This is a human rights issue. Scotland needs universal, “sensory literate” services to prevent as well as address the high numbers of people with sensory loss who have poor mental health.

Our full report invites government, public authorities and trade unions to think about the barriers faced by people affected by deafness, those with a sight loss and people who have a dual sensory loss and look at how they engage with and work with them to deliver the detail of the change required.

Recommendations

  1. Universal design – http://universaldesign.ie/what-is-universal-design/, should be adopted to provide “Sensory Literate Services”, which are inclusive of all people without the need of special changes.
  2. Scotland needs better oversight and monitoring of human rights duties and should invest in their delivery.
  3. The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 has a Board to manage delivery; a Language Plan to drive change across sectors; and is paid for by government to make sure the law works. It may be useful to copy this model for mainstreaming Inclusive Communication and to deliver ‘Communication For All’.
  4. ‘‘Mental Health – Scotland’s Transition and Recovery’ plan needs to include a specific and cross sector workstream to deliver actions and outcomes for people with sensory loss.
  5. The Scottish Government should provide training for all staff in publicly funded services so that services are fully inclusive of people affected by deafness, those with a sight loss and people with a dual sensory loss.
  6. All future policies and services should be subject to a Human Rights based approach so that the outcomes are fully inclusive of people affected by deafness, those with a sight loss and people with a dual sensory loss.
  7. Set up a joint working group to progress recommendations – led by the five organisations who have written this report.

To read the reports,

BSL version of the summary

BSL version of the Full Report