Sight loss charities Fighting Blindness and the RNIB are working together on the ‘Need to Talk’ service to support people of all ages, including children and young people from the age of 11, and their family and friends, to access the emotional and practical support they need to adapt to life with sight loss.
Through free, confidential, online (email, instant messaging and video conferencing) telephone and face to face counselling delivered by trained counsellors, people can access the support they need via their laptop, tablet or phone, in their own home, in their own way.
The Need to Talk project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Although the project is working across Leitrim, Donegal, Louth, Cavan, Sligo, Monaghan, Northern Ireland and Western Scotland, there is a specific focus on providing support to those living in more rural areas, where access to public transport and other support services can be limited.
“Getting to work, school or to the shops can often become a logistical challenge and sometimes an emotionally distressing one for anyone dealing with sight loss. For people who are living in rural areas this can be exacerbated by limited public transport. This initiative is designed to meet the needs of people who may find themselves socially isolated, struggling to cope and includes those living in rural locations," notes John Delany, Senior Counselling Manager, Fighting Blindness.
By the end of 2017 through the Need to Talk service, 61 people have been referred to counselling and 34 people with sight loss have been supported through ‘Living with Sight Loss’ confidence building courses.
“I remember thinking initially ‘I’m fine I don’t need counselling or anything like that’ but counselling takes lots of different forms. What I really did get out of the Need to Talk course was listening to other people’s stories and their frustrations and how they’re coping,” admits Des Keaney, Leitrim
If a member of your family or a friend can benefit from this service, you can refer them, or to find out more about the counselling and confidence building services in your area contact the Need to Talk team today on 01 674 6496 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't forget the Leitrim's Health Is Wealth free seminar, highlighting mental health issues and encouraging better awareness, acceptance and supports for those with mental health issues, is going to be held in The Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon on May 16, 2018. See here for more information.