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Guest Speaker: Richard D France

Posted by | November 6, 2016 | News | No Comments
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richard-d-france6Richard D France, an author of “The Book of the Failed Jumper” based on his survival from a suicide attempt, gave a talk about his “Crazy Life”. Here, he shared his personal journey as a survivor of the Mental Health system, the barrier he faced in getting the support he needed. Richard has written from an early age, winning his first writing competition at the age of 10 and being published in the newspapers at 19. He said, “When people ask me if I learned sign language or spoken language first, I reply “none” because writing is my first true language.”

Richard developed his love for writing, having written from an early age, winning his first writing competition at the age of 10 and being published in the newspapers at 19. He said, “When people ask me if I learned sign language or spoken language first, I reply “none” because writing is my first true language.”

Richard gave examples of barriers he faced especially around communication which triggered his mental health breakdown on several occasions where people failed to communicate directly in BSL or provide BSL interpreters. His needs were misunderstood and his requests for Deaf access were denied. Extremely powerful story and it wasn’t until 23 years later that he was referred to Springfield Hospital (National Deaf Services) that he found a Deaf environment that met his needs – he felt at home where everyone signed in BSL. It was then that he was given a diagnosed of Bipolar condition that he never knew for many years and was given an appropriate treatment to stabilise his condition. Richard shared his story through his talk, poems and in his books about his life; his second book is due to come out in November and the third book  due out hopefully in 2019.

Many HUDC members found his story so powerful and inspirational and asked him questions relating to mental health services for deaf people and what we can do to support deaf people with mental health and raising awareness. Richard travels across the country, sharing his experiences from a service user perspective at conferences and meetings, hoping to make positive influences to social services, health and commissioners within local authorities.

Richard ended his talk with powerful poems about his experiences. HUDC thanked him for his inspirational talk and presented him with a Certificate. Hopefully, Richard will come back to our future events to launch his second edition book. HUDC team is pleased to hear the successful result for last night. Sindhuya, Chairperson was informed to the members HUDC will get in touch with Springfield hospital for donations via the website and HUDC’s FB page. It important to raise the deaf mental health issues awareness and support deaf people who suffer from these issues. The fireworks were colorful and magical!

HUDC is keen to raise awareness about the challenges that deaf people faces when accessing to services and pledge to raise money to support Springfield hospital/ National Deaf Services, enabling more deaf people with Mental Health needs to be appropriately supported. The evening ended with a round of firework, so colourful and magical!

To learn more about how to donate, please check out HUDC website or via HUDC’s Facebook Page for more details or email hudc@hotmail.co.uk.