Paul Stemman

Deaf Info

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Supported living

Most deaf people who experience a mental health problem live in their own home. Some deaf people are too unwell to live in their own home without additional support.


A supported living scheme means staff support someone to live independently in their own home. For some people that might mean someone visiting them every two weeks to make sure everything is all right. For others it might mean living somewhere where there are staff nearby all day and night. This would be for people who are more likely to experience distress and could need some support at any time of the day.


Supported living schemes that have staff around a lot of the time usually have a few residents living together. Each resident has their own flat, but they live 'next door' to another deaf person. There are normally communal areas as well - such as a lounge. With this kind of supported living deaf people are able to support each other, and it is normally a signing environment (that means everyone uses sign language).


Creating such an environment is important for deaf people who have experience of mental health problems. Many have been isolated for a long time, and given no opportunity to sign with others. Supported living gives people the opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment in their first language. It also gives people the chance to learn life skills (such as cooking and shopping) with the support of staff.


Many deaf people who are discharged from the specialist hospital services move to supported living. This gives them far greater freedom and independence, but with support available when they need it.


Most specialist supported living schemes are run by the voluntary sector. These include:



Sign... the National Society for Mental Health & Deafness


Birmingham Institute for the Deaf (BID)