Mental Health, Sensory Loss and Human Rights

A transition report calling for sensory literate services.

Deafblind Scotland, deafscotland, Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), Sight Scotland and the ALLIANCE agreed in January 2021 to coproduce this report to inform and change decision making. Through our practice and experience, we recognise sensory poverty is amplified by policy, funding and service decisions which cause poor mental health and stops people accessing support. This is a human rights issue. Scotland needs universal, sensory literate services to prevent as well as address the high prevalence of poor mental health in people with sensory loss.

Our full report invites consideration from government, public authorities and trade unions which have an important role to play in delivering the pace and detail of the change required. Please support our eight recommendations:

  1. Universal design, should be adopted to provide sensory literate services, which are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design.
  2. Scotland needs better oversight and monitoring of human rights duties and should invest in their delivery.
  3. The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 brings benefits of having a board to oversee delivery, a language plan to drive change across sectors and is underpinned by finance to ensure impact. It may be useful to replicate 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 embark on training for all staff in publicly funded services so that services are sensory just.
  6. All future policies and services should be subject to a human rights based approach so that the outcomes are sensory just.
  7. Consideration should be given to positively promoting sensory loss as a linguistic minority, in line with the Council of Europe Treaty.
  8. Set up a joint working group to progress recommendations – done and led by the five organisations who have authored this report.

Full Report PDF Version

Summary PDF Version

Easy Read PDF Version

BSL videos available here

An Inclusive Communication Guide for Engaging with Deafblind People

This toolkit was funded by the Scottish Government in support of the implementation of the British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan:  2017-2023

Deafblind Scotland is located in a specialist Learning and Development Centre specifically designed to support the inclusion of Deafblind people.

View and download the guide here.

Deafblind Scotland 5 Year Strategy 2022-2026

This 5 year plan for Deafblind Scotland was based on the Manifesto of Deafblind People’s Rights and the consultation work of the Deafblind Ambassadors.

5 Year Strategy 2022 – 2026