The charity has issued a number of tips - S-H-U-S-H - to help improve listening skills and transform relationships:
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: Ones that need more than a yes/no answer, and then follow up, ask them to tell you 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.
The guidance has been issued as part of the suicide prevention charity’s annual, month-long campaign, Talk to Us, to raise awareness of its services.
The Samaritans is contacted by someone every six seconds, and every 90 seconds someone takes their own life in the UK or Ireland.
The charity believes good listening is essential in bringing down these statistics.
Ruth Sutherland, CEO, 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’.
The listening tips, along with advice on how to spot the signs that someone might be struggling, can be found at www.samaritans.org