Bristol women’s charity opens webchat for vulnerable deaf women – BBC News

Live webchat sessions are being offered by a charity to deaf women in Bristol needing mental health support.

Womankind hopes to reach 700 women in its first year and 1,400 the next year.

Volunteer service co-ordinator Laura Gallagher said deaf women were “more likely to be abused than hearing women” but faced greater barriers to get help.

DeafBlind UK welcomed Womankind’s work. It said there was “insufficient understanding of deafness and the connection with mental health”.

The charity said there were about 11 million people with hearing problems and about 151,000 used British Sign Language (BSL) as their only or preferred form of communication.

‘Desperate situations’

Andrew Barnes, from DeafBlind UK, said: “There are many stories of health services using pen and paper to communicate with deaf patients, not realising that British Sign Language (BSL) is a language in its own right.

“For some deaf people, mental health issues can start very early in childhood.

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