Published July 18, 2016 at 15:20
Suicide prevention charity challenges people to become better listeners.
This July, Samaritans across Pendle, Burnley, Craven & Rossendale are telling people to SHUSH! and listen.
As part of their month-long annual awareness-raising campaign, Talk to Us, Samaritans are on a mission to improve the UK’s listening skills with SHUSH! listening tips that it claims are ‘relationship transforming’.
Samaritans Listening Tips or S-H-U-S-H:
- Show you care: focus just on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone
- Have patience: it may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up
- Use open questions: that need more than a yes/no answer, & follow up e.g. ‘Tell me more’
- Say it back: to check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution
- Have courage: don’t be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to leave silence
Every six seconds, someone in the UK and Ireland contacts Samaritans, and every 90 minutes in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, someone takes their own life.
Good listening is hard but Samaritans believe it essential in bringing down the number of suicides.
Ian Hartley, director the local branch of the Samaritans, says:
“We listen. That’s what we’re here to do when people contact us, and sometimes it can be really challenging. But you don’t have to be a Samaritan to be a good listener. We’re a culture of people who love to give advice, love to give opinions and, quite frankly, love the sound of our own voices. But this year we’re asking people all over the country to SHUSH! and listen better to each other. Sixty years of Samaritans’ expertise has taught us that just listening is the greatest gift you can give to somebody, and that it can save lives.”
Samaritans aim to bring down the high numbers of suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It wants to encourage people to ask for help early if they are struggling, rather than waiting until they reach a crisis.
Samaritans Chief Executive Ruth Sutherland says:
“Being listened to gives you a voice, and the courage to say what’s really on your mind. Saying your problems out loud is therapeutic in itself and being listened to has the power to make you feel understood, and that you matter. We can all be better listeners. So many family, work, relationship and even mental health issues are made worse when a person feels they aren’t being listened to. Which is why we’re saying, ‘Shush and listen!’
“Most conversations today are just two people waiting to speak, not two people really listening. It’s vitally important for our children and young people’s wellbeing that they are listened to, and learn the value of listening, but it applies to every age too. We listen all the time, and as Samaritans we know how powerful that can be. So, I’m urging everyone to take up Samaritans’ challenge throughout our Talk To Us campaign this July, and become a better listener by putting into practice our Listening Tips. Go to our website, read them and share them – challenge each other to use them. We can all be braver and do more to give each other the space to talk. And by becoming better listeners, together we will save lives.”