A COUNSELLING service for people with sight loss has been launched in Ellesmere Port.
The service, run by Action for Blind People, will work alongside existing organisations and partners to cover gaps in provision in Ellesmere Port and use the services of volunteer trainee counsellors as well as fully qualified counsellors.
Funded by the Department of Health, it is available to visually impaired adults, their family, friends and carers.
Carol Young, the senior counsellor developing the project for Action for Blind People, said: “Sight loss can destroy confidence and it’s important that timely intervention is available to help people rebuild their self-belief and adapt to their visual impairment. This counselling service will help people at the most vulnerable time in their lives.
“Action for Blind People will also be working to improve health and social care providers’ understanding of the emotional and mental health needs of people facing sight loss.
“We are delighted to be introducing this life-changing service.”
Research shows depression is twice as common in visually impaired people as in the sighted population.
Providing counselling services has been shown to significantly reduce feelings of depression, loss and anxiety.
Carol added: “Unfortunately, it is our experience that general counselling services are not effective for people with visual impairments. Our project offers a person-centred approach, which we find is most suited to people facing sight loss.
“Our volunteer counsellors will be engaged in professional training or be already qualified as counsellors. Some will have personal experience of sight loss or have managed their own visual impairment. The counselling will take place at a neutral venue, but for those who aren’t able to make it to the centre for mobility or confidence reasons we offer to visit them initially at their homes.
“Counselling is about providing a safe and confidential space for emotional support and self-exploration. We act as a bridge to help people overcome their initial challenges, allowing them to be more receptive to the other types of support and services available to them.”
For more information about Action for Blind People’s services, call Sarah Crabb on 0151 298 3224 or email email@example.com.