‘Ways to feel well’ will be the focus of a new course offered by sight loss charity RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) which will be specifically tailored for blind and partially sighted people and their families.Advertisement
The Living Well with Sight Loss: Focus on Wellbeing course is delivered by phone and gives people from across the UK a chance to connect with others and share experiences.
The free courses are made possible thanks to funding support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
RNIB research carried out during lockdown identified that the coronavirus pandemic had a detrimental impact on the emotional wellbeing of blind and partially sighted people with almost half of those surveyed saying their emotional wellbeing had worsened, with feelings of isolation, lack of motivation and loss of freedom all highlighted as factors.
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One of those who has found peer support has helped lift his mood is Shaun Eccles who lives near Preston.
Shaun, 54, has Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) and says connecting with other people with sight loss gave him a chance to share advice and tips and he is now in the process of enrolling as a volunteer with RNIB.
Shaun said: “I’m a mechanic by trade and racing and cars has always been in my blood. I used to work on historic Formula One cars, but when I lost my sight, I couldn’t even go to the shop in my car. Giving up my driving licence was the worst day of my life.
“If you start talking to new people you find about different interests and get different perspectives. It is easy to spend too much time in your own head. I don’t use any social media to say in touch, so for me talking to other people really helped.
“To anyone who’s experiencing sight loss, it’s a difficult process, but I’d say speak to RNIB and keep talking to other people to see how you can get your life back on track.”
Hollie Barney, Wellbeing Services Manager at RNIB said: “Given the current international crisis many people are experiencing feelings of anxiety and fear. We can all benefit from taking time to de-stress and one thing that could help is to sign up for one of the new ‘Focus on… Wellbeing’ courses.
“The courses offer a chance to speak to others who may be experiencing similar feelings and get practical advice and support on how to increase positivity and make mood-boosting changes.”
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The free informal course runs for 90 minutes over four weeks and are available by phone or group video call.
Those enrolled on the course can discover tips to help them independently manage their health, overcome challenges using the five stages of wellbeing and manage the emotional impact of sight loss.
RNIB continues to run Living Well with Sight Loss courses and two thirds of participants who attended one of the four-week courses during 2019/2020 felt their wellbeing had improved through connections and this had helped them feel positive about their future.
To learn more about the courses and how to sign up visit www.rnib.org.uk/LivingWellWithSightLoss or call 0303 123 9999.
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