Post date: 
Tuesday, 21 January 2020
Image of people walking along a promenade

If the post-festive season blues are getting to you, or you're interested in improving your mental health, listen to our new podcast series on counselling and emotional wellbeing.

In our podcasts, we explore the impact and stages of sight loss, coping with loneliness and anxiety, exploring counselling options and ways to bring about positive effects for your emotional wellbeing.

The idea for the podcast series came about after RNIB were asked to offer counselling to members of the Blind Pen Pals Group, an international forum and Facebook friendship group for blind and partially sighted people.

Our team of trained counsellors from our Sight Loss Advice Service worked with counselling expert Dr Mhairi Thurston to produce the podcasts as a resource for the Blind Pen Pals Group.

Listen to our podcasts:

Podcast 1: Mission statement

An introduction to the series, where we explain the purpose of the podcasts for RNIB and its partners for this project, Facebook and The Light Across the World.

Listen to Podcast 1

Podcast 2: The impact of sight loss/blindness on mental health

What are the effects that sight loss/ blindness can have on an individual’s emotional and mental wellbeing?

Listen to Podcast 2

Podcast 3: Adjusting to sight loss

We explore the five stages of sight loss:

1. Diagnosis
2. Life as normal (hiding sight loss)
3. Point of impact (the impact of sight loss, so life as normal is no longer possible)
4. Engaging with rehabilitation (coming out as a blind person.)
5. Acceptance (the new normal)

Listen to Podcast 3

Podcast 4: Loneliness and isolation

We look at what loneliness and isolation are, the symptoms and ways to cope.

Listen to Podcast 4

Podcast 5: Adrijana’s interview

Interview with the founder of the Blind Pen Pals Group.

Listen to Podcast 5

Podcast 6: What is counselling?

As the Blind Pen Pals Group is international, we explore what counselling means, as the word has different meanings around the world.

Listen to Podcast 6

Podcast 7: Simulated counselling session

In this podcast, we demonstrate what a counselling session entails, as some of the group were unsure what is was and if it was something they needed.

Listen to Podcast 7

Podcast 8: Simulated counselling session, Part 2

We follow up from the first simulated counselling session. We look at the impact the counselling session had on Dr Mhairi Thurston.

Listen to Podcast 8

Podcast 9: Anxiety

We look at what anxiety is and how it affects people, and at ways to cope and live with anxiety.

Listen to Podcast 9

Podcast 10: Self care

We explore what a person with sight loss can do to bring about positive effects on their mental and emotional health.

Listen to Podcast 10

Podcasts 11 and 12 will be released soon. Keep an eye out for them on our Audioboom channel.

Further information

The Blind Pen Pals Group was founded by Adrijana Prokopenko and currently has more than 6,500 members on their Facebook group. The group is private but anyone with a Facebook account can request to join it.

Dr Mhairi Thurston is a British Association for Counselling Governor, and a senior lecturer in Counselling at Abertay University. Her particular research interest is the social and emotional effects of acquired sight loss. She has a guide dog called Meadow.

We're here for you

If you need someone who understands sight loss, call us on 0303 123 9999. Whether you're looking for emotional support or straightforward advice, we'll help you in any way we can with our Sight Loss Advice Service.