Talk to Us 2016: Never underestimate the power of listening

Cath Brogan, Samaritans Ireland Executive Director:

Samaritans responds to one call for help per minute and every week nine people in Ireland take their lives.

Lending a listening ear is crucial to helping people find their way through their problems and to encourage them to seek help early, rather than when they reach a crisis.

Talk to Us is an annual awareness-raising campaign that takes place in Ireland and the UK throughout the month of July. Every year Talk to Us aims to highlight the importance of talking and spread the word about our service. This year, the theme is the Power of Listening and the aim is make people in Ireland better listeners.

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, relationships and even mental health issues can become more difficult when a person feels they aren’t being listened to. 

Most conversations in the Ireland 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 confident and do more to give each other the space to talk.  And by becoming better listeners, together we will save lives.

Cath Brogan - Samaritans Ireland