#WorldMentalHealthDay and #WorldSightDay were on the same day this year – 10 October 2019 – and Hugh Spence, NAB’s Children and Families Officer, reflects on his own journey.

For those who don’t know me I lost my site totally 11 years ago and I had a severe visual impairment for the 16 years before that.

Losing your site brings along many challenges one of which is coping with your mental health. When you lose your site you go through the grieving process and that can affect your mental health. I see myself as a very positive, happy-go-lucky, 27-year-old but my lack of vision does get me down sometime. In particular, not being able to drive and be as independent as I would like affects me a lot.

However, most of the time I stay happy and have a smile on my face but some days I just wake up and think why me – but that soon passes because of the fantastic support I have from family and friends.

If you are struggling with your mental health whether due to your lack of sight or for any other reason please contact one of the many organisations out there that can help you. Don’t suffer in silence!

As for World Sight Day, people say that vision is the sense they would least like to lose so I urge you all to please visit your opticians every two years at least. This helps Optometrists detect any early signs of a visual impairment and may stop you from losing your sight. 50% of all sight loss is avoidable to taking steps today, could prevent you losing your sight in the future. 250 people start to lose their sight every day and there are about 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss.

So please listen to me and book your eye appointment!

If you are struggling with your sight and need support, please visit your local site loss charity where ever that may be in the country. Contact NAB’s confidential helpline on 01604 719193 or email info@nab.org.uk