When people feel listened to, it can save a life.
We all have emotional health and it is just as important as our physical health. Talking about the things that are worrying us can really help before things get out of control. Sometimes it is hard to open up because we might think that people have more important things to do but actually you're really important and you will be surprised that there is always someone who will want to listen.
You may also need to be a listener at some point so these tips will help. Find out more about emotional health and wellbeing in our health section.
The Samaritans want to encourage people to listen to the really important things their friends, family and colleagues need to tell them, and to actually devote some time and attention to being better listeners. Read about S.H.U.S.H on the Samaritans website.
Over years of experience the Samaritans have developed the following S.H.U.S.H Listening Tips:
1) Show you care
- Life can be extremely busy and multi-tasking has become the norm, but to really listen to somebody, you need to give them your full attention, maintain eye contact and be engaged.
- Keep a listening diary - just for a week. Record how many times you listened really well, note what challenges and distracts you and what you think went well.
- Aim to learn at least one new thing about the person who is talking to you and not to talk about yourself at all.
2) Have patience
- Once a person pauses from talking, count to three in your head to give them time to say more if they need to.
3) Use open questions
- Use open questions that need more than a yes/no answer which show people you care, and follow up with questions like "Tell me more".
4) Say it back
- Repeating something back to somebody is a really good way to reassure them that they have your undivided attention and you can check to see that you’re hearing what they want you to hear, not putting your own interpretation on the conversation.
5) Have courage
- Being listened to can help people to be brave enough to talk about what is really bothering them, it helps them to feel that they, and what they are going through, matter.
Why not give it a go the next time you ask someone 'How are you feeling?'
Visit the Samaritans website www.samaritans.org