Suicide Prevention Charity Challenges The UK To Become Better Listeners
This July Bradford Samaritans wants to help people to become better listeners, and the branch will be appearing at Emergency Services Show at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, Birkenshaw on Saturday 9 July.
Talk to Us, Samaritans annual month-long awareness raising campaign, is on a mission to improve the UK’s listening skills to help us all stay connected.
Samaritans volunteers at Bradford Forster Square Railway Station (14 July), Great Yorkshire Show (14 July) and Kirkgate Shopping Centre (26 July) will also be highlighting the support they provide for the community, which centres on good listening skills.
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.
Samaritans believes that listening is crucial to helping people find their way through their problems, and the charity would like to encourage people to seek help early, rather than when they reach a crisis.
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
Eileen from Bradford Samaritans said:
“We listen. That’s what we’re here to do and sometimes it can be challenging. But you don’t have to be a Samaritan to get better at listening to family, friends and colleagues. 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 to SHUSH! and listen better. 60 years of Samaritans expertise has taught us that just listening is the greatest gift you can give to somebody.”
Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “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 in the UK 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.”