In response to the Covid-19 crisis, Need to Talk – a counselling and confidence building service from RNIB in N Ireland and Scotland, and Fighting Blindness in the Republic of Ireland, has introduced ‘Emergency Mental Health Sessions’ to offer crucial emotional and mental support for blind and partially sighted people during this time.
Need to Talk provides free support to adults and young people living with sight loss in Donegal, Louth, Sligo, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan.
Amanda Hawkins, Specialist Lead for Counselling and Wellbeing at RNIB, explains: “This is essentially an emotional support triage service for blind and partially sighted people in lockdown. It isn’t counselling, it’s a platform for people to talk to someone about their fears and worries right now, whether that’s around their eye health, feeling isolated or any other lockdown-related anxiety they may be experiencing.”
Amanda continues: “Many people with sight loss already report on issues with isolation, we think that the impact of coronavirus increases this sense – perhaps removing the ability to connect with people on a regular basis. When we feel isolated, feelings of worries and anxiety tend to grow and become stronger in our lives and this can affect how we are feeling about ourselves.
“The Emergency Mental Health Sessions are here to help people talk about some of the issues that are affecting them. These might be fear of leaving the house, worries about access to food, and being anxious about normal life.”
Anyone who is affected by sight loss can ask for an emergency mental health session by phoning our team on 01 6789 004 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you live in Northern Ireland, you can ask for an emergency mental health session by phoning the RNIB Helpline on: 0303 123 9999, or by emailing: email@example.com.
Need to Talk is a five-year (2017 – 2021) cross border counselling and confidence building project, delivered through a partnership between RNIB in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and Fighting Blindness in the Republic of Ireland. The €1.8million project is funded by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).