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Ansley’s blog: It’s OK not to be OK, RNIB Cymru are here to help

As winter draws closer and there is still no end in sight to the pandemic that has dominated 2020, it is understandable that many of us are in need of a little extra emotional support.

The RNIB Cymru team has been working closely with the Welsh blind and partially sighted community and are heartened by their passion to help others, while recognising that the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges and created new ones.

Saturday 10 October was World Mental Health Day, an important reminder that we all need to look after each other – and ourselves – when the going gets tough.

So, I’d like to offer a few options for anyone who needs a bit of help and support during this time:

  • Our Talk and Support telephone groups are a great way to connect with other people with sight loss, share experiences and find support. We match small groups of individuals together for general conversations, with trained staff or volunteers facilitating the groups.
  • Our RNIB Connect Cymru Facebook group is a great place to talk to other people with sight loss online. Group members swap helpful advice, words of support and funny videos around the clock – there’s something for everyone.
  • There is lots of useful information and tips on our website and our friendly Helpline staff are ready to take your call from 8am-8pm, Mondays to Fridays and 9am until 1pm on Saturdays.
  • Recognising the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health, we now offer an emergency mental health service over the phone. The service is available until June 2021 and provides rapid, one-off intervention for anyone experiencing severe anxiety and stress as a result of the pandemic. Callers will speak one-on-one with a counsellor to share feelings, find ‘here and now’ coping strategies and explore further support needs.
  • We also have our regular counselling and wellbeing service for people in need of longer-term help. Sessions can take place online or over the phone and are completely free of charge. Our team understand the impact of sight loss and can offer a huge knowledge of all eye conditions.

We want to make sure that 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 Cymru will always be here.

If you would like to access any of our confidential counselling or befriending services, simply call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm or email [email protected].