LETTER: We are here to help in difficult times

A reader discusses support for the blind.

2020 was a difficult year for everyone. Though there is hope on the horizon, starting 2021 in lockdown is not how most people wanted to ring in the New Year. It’s understandable that many of us are feeling down and in need of a little extra emotional support.

The situation is especially challenging for the more than two million people in the UK living with sight loss. Many have faced anxiety, sadness and even fear about the unique challenges they have experienced – such as problems social distancing, difficulty shopping without guidance and isolation from losing tactile contact with friends and family during lockdown.

That’s why the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) launched Emergency Mental Health Sessions for local blind and partially sighted people in October. The sessions are completely free and offer people with sight loss the opportunity to speak to a counsellor for an hour over the phone about however they are feeling and any problems that are on their mind. It doesn’t have to be about their sight at all. We know that the next few months might be tough for many, so we want to remind you that RNIB is here to help. If you or someone you know could benefit from speaking to someone, please call our helpline on 0303 123 9999. We can set up a chat within 36 hours and the service can be used as many times as needed. No-one with sight loss has to suffer on their own. Blind and partially sighted people deserve the same expectation of mental wellbeing as everyone else. That’s why RNIB will always be here.

Amanda Hawkins, Specialist Lead for Counselling and Wellbeing, RNIB

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