BDA Northern Ireland launched the ‘Alcohol One Drink Too Many’ DVD at Stormont on 13th March.
The launch was attended by members of the Deaf community and local service providers and supported by Northern Ireland Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann.
Speaking at Parliament Buildings, Junior Minister Jonathan Bell said,
“We do not have the figures to evidence that deaf people have higher rates of alcohol misuse than the rest of the population but alcohol misuse is one of the main public health challenges we face in Northern Ireland. Research tells us that it costs £900 million each year, £250 million of which is borne by the Health and Social Care Sector.”
“I welcome that the Public Health Agency has supported the development of the alcohol awareness DVD for Deaf Sign Language users. I hope it helps to get the message out to more people and that more people consider their alcohol intake and therefore improve their health.”
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said,
“Alcohol misuse is one of the many public health challenges we face.The links between alcohol and mental health, suicide and self-harm are particularly concerning. This is why addressing the harm related to substance misuse remains a key priority for the Executive.”
“Through our recently launched Disability Strategy, we must ensure that everyone with a disability can enjoy equal rights and that they do not live with their life chances limited or constrained. This DVD is a great example of what is possible when public and voluntary organisations work together targeting specific issues which impact people in a particular way. I commend the British Deaf Association and the Public Health Agency for their contribution to this project.”
BDA CEO, David Buxton said,
“We need legal status for BSL and for English Language to be delivered in Sign Language. The key to empowerment is language, community, history and pride in who you are. As John Williams Jones said 100 years ago ‘There is no danger of Sign Language disappearing. It will live long after you and I are dead’”.
Cahir Lagan, a local Deaf man, shared his personal experience of battling with alcohol and offered valuable insight into the need for such a resource.
Guest speaker Mary McMahon, Chair of Public Health Agency and project funder said,
“This initiative demonstrates the impact small initiatives can have on people’s lives. This DVD highlights the power collaboration. This is the first time I‘ve been to an event on a health issue that transcends across all government working and proves that small amounts of money can make a big difference.”
The production of the DVD was funded by the Public Health Agency, and is aimed at our local Deaf community. I would like to say a huge thank you to the Junior Ministers for supporting this event. We also called upon the skills of local Deaf people to star in this resource, and at this point I would like to thank them for their invaluable contributions.
In fact, without the involvement of all those I’ve just mentioned, this DVD would not have been possible. There will be Roadshows happening in conjunction with local Deaf clubs across 5 different locations throughout Northern Ireland to promote the DVD to the local Deaf community. John Wilson from the PSNI Road Safety team will be accompanying the community Advocacy Officer on these roadshows.
We will be promoting the DVD and liaising with local professionals who work in the field of Alcohol awareness and related issues. We aim to work with Social Services Sensory Support Teams and local organisations working with Deaf people. If you wish to obtain a copy please contact Alice Johnston, firstname.lastname@example.org.