SUICIDE PREVENTION CHARITY harnesses the power of listening.

Samaritans annual month-long awareness campaign Talk to Us in July encourages people fromall over the UK to take a few minutes to improve their listening skills by following the charity’s simple SHUSH! listening tips.

On July 24th Samaritans volunteers at Bournemouth railway station will be handing out SHUSH listening tips and 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

Good listening is hard but Samaritans believes it essential in bringing down the number of suicides.

Director Charlie from Samaritans of Bournemouth and District said:

“Suicide is everybody’s business and we can all do our bit to encourage people to be better listeners and reach out for help if they need to.We’re a culture of people who love to give advice, love to give opinions and love the sound of our own voices. But this year we’re asking people all over the country to SHUSH! and take time out to listen to others. 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 is to bring down the high numbers of suicides in the UK and the 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.”

Dr Andrew Mayers, Principal Academic at Bournemouth University and Patron for the Samaritans in Bournemouth said “The Samaritans continue to reduce suicide by listening to ordinary people who may be feeling distressed, lonely, anxious or simply at odds with life. Their dedication to helping those in need is very humbling. They are all volunteers, of all ages, from all walks of life. I am proud to represent them. I encounter many people with mental health problems who sate that they would not be alive today if it were not for the Samaritans.

You can join the Samaritans at Bournemouth railway station between 8.00 and 15.00 on July 24th.