Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Grant 1: Rutgers University Eye2Eye Program: Building a Model for Peer Support

Losing vision is often highly stressful and traumatic and associated with a higher incidence of depression.  However, few seek treatment, and few mental health services exist with professionals knowledgeable about vision loss. Recognizing this, the Rutgers Eye2Eye Peer Support Program for Vision Loss, a free, phone-based support program, assists adults who are blind or visually impaired and their families. Their proposal to RDPFS requested support to strengthen and increase their services to meet the needs of growing numbers of individuals with vision loss. Eye2Eye plans to maintain and increase the number of clients served with additional peer support staff and volunteers, enhance programming for family members, continue formalizing their training curriculum, and develop professional education materials for mental health professionals. They will also advance the program by connecting with other organizations providing services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired (BVI) and build a network of service providers and partnerships with other mental health programs. Eye2Eye will serve as a model to be replicated among other organizations in the BVI community.