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Brasilia, Brazil

A Mental Health Advocate with Wanderlust

Emma smiling at the camera. Her long, blond her is wavy and pulled back with a pin, and she's wearing a black t-shirt with a white collar.

“Under the Mask” is the story about three superheroes, who each deal with the overwhelming emotions: anger, sadness and worry. In the story, they use their superpowers to overcome these emotions. The superpowers are simple, they are coping mechanisms such as breathing, exercising and talking to somebody - superpowers that children can learn to use themselves if they struggle with their mental health. “Under The Mask” is the brainchild of Emma – a teacher, traveler, mental health advocate, writer and we’re proud to say, a Be My Eyes volunteer.

Originally from Ireland, Emma has lived in both Scotland and Qatar before moving to Brazil, where she now works as a Primary School Teacher. Besides teaching, Emma has published her first children’s book, and is working on a second, tackling the topic of mental health. Based on her own experience with mental health and working with children, Emma finds it important to teach children about mental health in a way they can understand. “A common theme that I had recognised in working with children was that they were struggling to recognise and manage their emotions. I decided the best way to try to do something about this was to write a book”, Emma explains.

Being a Be My Eyes volunteer is a way for Emma to volunteer, even though she has a busy schedule already. “I’ve had some really interesting conversations with people, and I’ve had a lot of people make me laugh, cheer me up, make my day”, Emma says about the experience.

It’s been quite a powerful experience actually, and it’s just such a simple, easy way to make that little bit of a difference to some people.

Being located in a different timezone, Emma has answered many calls, despite only being a volunteer for a few months. Usually, the tasks are pretty simple, but one experience stands out in her memory. She connected with a homeless man, who needed directions back to his shelter. When Emma asked him if he could find out what street he was on, she learned that most people refused to help. Emma experienced first-hand how people passed by without helping. When they finally found a kind soul who was willing to help out, he and Emma worked together to get the blind man back to his shelter.

For Emma, all experiences on Be My Eyes have been great and eye-opening, giving her an understanding of how people with a vision impairment live their daily lives.