Researchers: Bryony Beresford, Veronica Greco, Sue Clarke, Lesley Jones (Hull York Medical School)
Funder: Department of Health
Duration: December 2005 to September 2008
There were more than 30,000 deaf children and young people in the UK in 2005. Many grew up to use British Sign Language (BSL) although almost all were born into hearing families with no previous experience of deafness. Thus most deaf children experienced difficulties in communicating with their own families, with hearing peers, and in school. Communication problems, subsequent difficulties with peer relationships and family dynamics, and a high incidence of central nervous system damage were some of the main reasons why deaf children were approximately 1.5 times more likely to develop mental health problems than their hearing peers. Clearly deaf children required access to the same range of mental health services as their hearing counterparts. However, they also had a range of special needs that ordinary mental health services could not meet.
Prior to 2004 the only specialist inpatient and outpatient mental health service for deaf children in England was in London . In 2004 the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group (NSCAG) of the Department of Health set up a pilot project, funded for three years. This project involved two specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) teams - one in York and one in Dudley - linked closely with the London service to provide improved geographical access to a national service and to develop provision for a greater range of problems. An innovative part of this service was to utilise telemental health technology (TMH), with video-conferencing between the three teams being used for therapeutic, case management, supervision and training purposes.
The purpose of this project was to evaluate this specialist mental health service. The aims were as follows:
- to describe the changes in access to specialist deaf mental health services in terms of factors such as location, referring agencies/bodies, and the types of problems being referred.
- to describe changes in the way cases were managed and interventions provided following the setting up of the satellite centres in York and Dudley.
- to assess the outcomes of the service for users.
- to assess the impact of the service on referring agencies.
- to describe and assess the impact of telemental health technology on the way services were provided, the outcomes achieved, and the experiences of using telemental health technology in this setting.
Changes in access to the service and descriptive data on the population using the service were obtained from analysis of data routinely collected by the services.
The effect of, and experiences of using, the service were explored using standardised mental health assessment tools (administered by service staff) and qualitative interviews with the children and their parents. These data were collected at the time of referral and on discharge or at six to eight months post-referral. Specialist interviewers skilled in using BSL conducted the interviews with the children. Staff from the specialist teams were interviewed on two occasions which captured their views of providing the service, changes and developments in the way the service was provided and views about using TMH. Finally, views about the service were obtained from referring professionals by means of a questionnaire.
Publications and presentations
Referrers' use and views of specialist mental health services for deaf children and young people in England, 2010
Beresford, B., Clarke, S. and Greco, V., Journal of Mental Health, 19, 2, 193-201. 2009
An evaluation of specialist mental health services for deaf children
Beresford, B., Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 13th Spring Meeting, University of York, York, 2 April 2009. An evaluation of specialist mental health services for deaf children
Beresford, B., Mental Health and Deafness and Children Research Networking Day, York, 3 June 2009. Deaf children and young people's experiences of specialist mental health services
Beresford, B., York Child Mental Health Network Forum 2009 Meeting, York, 12 January 2009. Deaf children and young people's experiences of using specialist mental health services, 2009
Greco, V., Beresford, B. and Sutherland, H., Children & Society, 23, 6, 455-469. 2008
An evaluation of specialist mental health services for deaf children, 2008
Beresford, B., Greco, V., Clarke, S. and Sutherland, H., Research Works, 2008-2, Social Policy Research Unit. An Evaluation of Specialist Mental Health Services for Deaf Children and Young People, 2008
Beresford, B., Greco, V., Clarke, S. and Sutherland, H.. Appendices to - An Evaluation of Specialist Mental Health Services for Deaf Children and Young People, 2008
Beresford, B., Greco, V., Clarke, S. and Sutherland, H., Social Policy Research Unit.