CEO Chat #24

CEO Chat

Language, culture and awareness of the changing nature of society is essential and interesting.

I have always been fascinated by language. When I was young, regional accents and dialect intrigued me. How could people who speak English have different words for the same thing? How are some words acceptable but others aren’t? So many questions, I must have really annoyed my parents and teachers! I was ten years old when infection caused my eardrums to rupture for the first time, followed by years of infection, surgery and disappointment.  I lost my hearing for many years but what I gained was a greater fascination with language. My favourite bedtime reading was the dictionary, learning words and practicing mouth patterns to help me with lip-reading. As you can tell from the picture, I am never too far from a well-thumbed dictionary.

Listening and learning go hand in hand.  On Tuesday I had the first of two sessions to become a Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider), it’s a follow on from completing a Suicide Alertness Session to become an Orange Button Holder three years ago. It is a requirement to continue learning and understanding the changing issues affecting people as time goes by.  As you can see from the image taken from the handbook, the deaf community are twice as likely to be affected by mental health issues. CDA is doing what we can to work with partner agencies and the deaf community to ensure that we have open conversations, provide opportunity to access appropriate support and create activities to engage people, helping reduce isolation and improve well-being.

Friday, I had the opportunity to meet up with Sophia Newton, Director of Communications and Co-Founder of Anti-Racist Cumbria, for a proper chat. We’ve crossed paths at various events but we’ve not really had chance to sit down and get to know each other’s organisations properly. So, it was time for a brew and biscuits for us to delve into Anti Racist Cumbria and CDA. Both organisations have an active goal to make Cumbria the leading county for understanding and engagement, making it a fabulous place to live, work and visit. Over the next year we’ll be linking up to share community wisdom and learning to break down barriers between our two sectors of society who are often unfairly judged, pigeon-holed and stereo-typed.

The connection between language and culture is woven into a lifetime of changing perceptions. As an organisation we can ensure that wider societal conversations include the deaf community, because hearing loss too has changing perceptions and language associated with it. It’s only right and fair that we change our narrative to support other communities.