We recognise the positive effect counselling can have on a person’s general wellbeing. Counselling offers professional help to people with social, emotional and psychological problems. Counselling can be accessed through the NHS as well as being provided by a large number of organisations within the community.
Scottish Council on Deafness recommends:
1. Equality Impact Assessments1 should be carried out on all counselling services to ensure that the needs of deaf people are included in these services.
2. When a Deaf or deafblind person asks their GP for counselling they should be offered accessible counselling, the cost of which should be covered by the Health Board. This may be with a counselling organisation which specialises in counselling deaf people or with a mainstream counsellor with the appropriate communication support.
3. Deaf people have the right to choose whether or not they wish to access deaf or mainstream counselling.
4. If a deaf person is using mainstream counselling they should be asked their preferred communication method. Under the Equality Act 20122 the counselling provider is responsible for booking and paying for the appropriate professional registered communication support.
5. All mainstream counsellors and counselling agencies should be able to refer deaf clients to specialist services where appropriate.
6. All mainstream services should give consideration to improving their accessibility to deaf people particularly with regard to how services are publicised, how they can be contacted and how appointments are made.
7. All counsellors – specialist and mainstream – should be able to access a list of other deaf support services and organisations that offer support to deaf people, including those providing mental health support.
8. Counselling providers should consider developing links with counsellors and counselling organisations which specialise in counselling deaf people and promote cross-referral.
9. All leaflets and information should be produced in accessible formats.3
Contact details of individuals and organisations specialising in counselling deaf people can be found on our website.
For further information please see our leaflet What is Counselling?
1 See our Information Sheet on Terminology
2 For more about this Act, see our Information Sheet on the Equality Act 2010
3 See our Position Statement on Access to Information and our Information Sheet entitled Accessible Information