Doncaster man given 'new lease of life' after sight loss from car crash horror

A Doncaster man says he has been given ‘a new lease of life’ after a car crash horror which saw him suffer sight loss.

By Darren Burke
Monday, 9th May 2022, 1:55 pm

Luke Laister suffers from Bilateral Optic Nerve Neuropathy due to a car crash ten years ago.

But he says help offered by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has helped rebuild his life and has spoken out about his experiences during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until May 15.

With a rise in referrals to the Mental Wellbeing Check-in service, RNIB has a range of wellbeing services for the estimated 180,000 blind and partially sighted people in Yorkshire and Humber to maintain their mental health.

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Luke Laister says the help guided him through a dark time in his life.

Luke, 28, said RNIB’s Living Well with Sight Loss (LWWSL) course has helped rebuild his life.

He said: “Going on the LWWSL course gave me a new lease of life and I’m forever grateful.

"The sessions are informative, and I learned about various tips and tricks for living with sight loss.

"The course gave me something to look forward to every week.

The Mental Wellbeing Check-in service provides support within 72 hours of contacting RNIB and provides an hour-long call with a counsellor, allowing people to have a space to share their feelings, explore coping strategies and any other support needs.

Mental Health Awareness Week is organised by the Mental Health Foundation and RNIB is highlighting numerous resources and services available.

RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service provides practical and emotional support to help reduce isolation and loneliness for blind and partially sighted people; services include peer to peer support such as Talk and Support, Living Well with Sight Loss courses and community Facebook groups.

These initiatives are made possible thanks to funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Funds raised will also be used to develop further projects to bring people together.

Amanda Hawkins, Strategic Lead for Counselling and Mental Health at RNIB, said: “Although lockdown restrictions have been eased for a while, we’re all still adjusting to the new way of living and it’s crucial we continue to look after our mental health in the process.

“Whether you’re experiencing feelings of isolation, interested in a listening ear, or seeking some advice, our sight loss advice line is here to support you. The mental health hub on our website also has several downloadable guides to help with loneliness, sleep difficulties, mindfulness and much more.”

Added Luke: “Being able to listen to other people’s lived experiences makes you realise you’re not alone and that it’s not all doom and gloom, there are people who do care.

"I’ve now become an RNIB volunteer to deliver the LWWSL courses as it was of huge help to me following a dark time in my life.”

If you or someone you know could benefit from speaking to someone, or for tips on how to maintain your mental health, please visit rnib.org.uk/advice/sight-loss-and-wellbeing or call the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Sight Loss Advice Service on 0303 123 9999 for further help and information.