Free Online Therapy Courses Released In New Zealand Sign Language


Just a Thought has partnered with Deaf creative
agency, Deafradio, and with support from the Ministry of
Social Development, to provide free online therapy courses
to New Zealand’s Deaf and hard of hearing
community.

A translation of this
press release in NZ Sign Language is available
here

Two
courses on the Just a Thought platform have been released in
New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) – which is one of three
official languages in New Zealand alongside te reo Māori
and English. The courses, Mixed Depression and
Anxiety
and Staying on Track – a guide to support
your wellbeing during times of stress and uncertainty
,
are available online and will teach learners how to manage
mental health challenges using proven strategies based on
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

The release of
these courses coincides with International Week of Deaf
People, which runs from 19 – 25 September. A key theme of
this week is Health for All, which aims to draw
attention to the barriers, stigmatisation and discrimination
Deaf people face when accessing health-related information
and services.

The Coalition of Deaf Mental Health
Professionals spokesperson Linda Guirey says the key for
Deaf mental health access and support is language, and
mental health information is generally not accessible in
NZSL, so Deaf people often miss out on critical education
and support.
Linda says “Deaf people have a distinct
culture, and for most Deaf people English is a second
language so having to access complex information in English
written for mainstream society is not a cultural or
linguistic match, and is often inadequate.

“Recent
academic research undertaken in partnership with the
Coalition1 pointed to a lack of Deaf cultural mental health
services as being a significant barrier to accessing
appropriate support. Given that the self-reported need among
Deaf people in Aotearoa for support with depression and
anxiety is around four-times the national average2, the Just
a Thought courses could play an important role for many Deaf
people”.

Deafradio’s director Sonia Pivac, who is
Deaf, assisted in the production of these courses as a
cultural advisor and translator.

She says she hopes
the courses will give people in her community confidence and
autonomy around managing their own mental health, as well as
easy access to support in a way that works for
them.

“Despite being an official language for 16
years, access to health information, including mental
health, is still rare in NZSL, especially information
designed to accompany a viewer through a process or journey.
Face-to-face support certainly has its place in the Deaf
community, but given that Deaf people have largely missed
out on decades of mainstream destigmatisation towards mental
illness, being able to access this material privately,
online and in your own home, is of real
benefit.”

“Many of the concepts and resources on
the courses were of broad value, our Seeflow translation
team learnt a lot while working on this project,” says
Sonia.

Just a Thought general manager Charlie David
says he hopes these courses will go some way in bridging the
gap for the Deaf community for accessible and effective
mental health support.

“For the past three years
since launching, we’ve been on a mission to make mental
wellbeing support available to every New Zealander. The New
Zealand Deaf community is no exception.”

“Both
courses are free and available online – so they can be
accessed anywhere, anytime. Removing any further barriers to
support.”

A series of free wellbeing resources have
also been translated into NZSL and can be accessed from the
Just a Thought website.

To view the free resources or
sign up for one of the courses, please visit: https://www.justathought.co.nz/nzsl
 

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