RNIB launches new support during Mental Health Week

The Royal National Institute of Blind People is offering free Wellbeing Check Ins and launching a range of mental health guides for people in Wales during Mental Health Awareness Week (between 10 May and 16 May). 


The charity estimates that there are 111,000 blind and partially sighted people in Wales and says that many of them will be facing unique challenges as a result of lockdown easing. 


RNIB’s Wellbeing Check Ins give blind and partially sighted people the chance to speak to a specialist counsellor over the phone about how they’re feeling and any problems they may be facing. The service is available to anyone affected by sight loss, including friends and family members. These sessions, supported with funding from Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), can be accessed by calling RNIB’s Helpline on 0303 123 9999. 


Kirsty James, 31, from Caerphilly has been living with sight loss since she was a teenager. She said: “I accessed the Wellbeing Check In service at a time of real need. I unexpectedly lost more of my remaining vision, which was a real shock. I have been registered as severely sight impaired for many years and I had never accessed counselling or support for my vision loss. But this time I felt such despair that I knew I needed more support.  


“I called RNIB for emotional support and they referred me to an amazing counsellor. The telephone call wasn’t rushed and I really did feel listened to. On the call I was given the tips and tools to help myself at this scary time and they really helped. One of the tips was for me to relax and take time for myself. I was told that anytime I thought to myself that I should be doing something, to recorrect that thought and just focus on being still and in the moment. I know it sounds simple, but it was definitely the foundation block for my recovery.  


“This is why I recommend the service to anyone who feels like they need someone to talk to about anything that is affecting their mental health. Speaking to someone helped me so much.” 


The charity’s new range of mental health guides in Welsh and English also offer advice and information on many mental health related topics, such as loneliness, sleep difficulties, resilience and mindfulness, and are downloadable from the Mental Health hub on RNIB’s website or requested through the charity’s Helpline. 


RNIB Cymru’s Director Ansley Workman said: “Lockdown is slowly easing in stages and lots of us are finding this time challenging, so it's vital to continue to look after our mental health.  


“Whether you’re struggling with feelings of isolation and need to speak to someone, or if you just want some tips on how to maintain your mental health – our mental health hub has all of the information and advice you might need.” 


If you or someone you know could benefit from speaking to someone, please visit RNIB.org.uk call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.  

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