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About Us

The British Society for Mental Health and Deaf People (BSMHD) is unique in the UK as it is the only UK charity that focuses entirely on the promotion of the positive mental health of deaf people.


Although our main focus is on those who’s first or preferred language is sign language, BSMHD is interested in the mental health of all deaf people, whatever their language preference, age of onset or degree of deaf people.

Deaf people who are British Sign Language users are almost twice as likely to have mental health issues compared with the general population (40% against 25%). In addition, people with mental health and deaf people issues (multiple needs) often face marginalisation from mainstream society. There is a great deal of stigma attached to mental health in the Deaf community, thus leading to isolation and loneliness in a close knit community. Through delivery of training courses and dissemination of information, BSMHD are actively working to reduce this stigma throughout the UK.


Roger Hewitt, the General Secretary of the BSMHD in 2021, spoke to Hebert Klein, our Honorary President about the history of the BSMHD. Herbert explains how the BSMHD began in 1991 and the main achievements we have achieved. These include:


  • national and international conferences focuse on the mental health of deaf people;

  • training for professionally qualified staff;

  • training for deaf people to become qualified as nurses and clinical psychologists;

  • increasing the involvement of deaf people at conferences;

  • developing agreed BSL signs for aspects of mental health;

  • regional meetings and networking events for users and services for deaf people;

  • raising the profile of deaf people's experiences in mental health research;

  • the development of a 'deaf' IAPT service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies);

  • providing Mental Health Frist Aid training in Wales.


You can read the transcript of Herbert's and Roger's conversation here.

Board of Trustees

Herbert Klein

Honorary President

Sylvia Simmonds

Co-Chair, Trustee

Carolyn Denmark

Co-Chair, Trustee

Dr Kevin Baker

Honorary Treasurer, Trustee

David Rose


Christopher Reid


Rubbena Aurengzeb-Tariq


Caroline Mullins


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