Samaritans urge people to listen as part of its awareness campaign to reduce suicide

Banbury and District Samaritans at the Hook Norton Real Ale Festival. NNL-170717-145641001
Banbury and District Samaritans at the Hook Norton Real Ale Festival. NNL-170717-145641001
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Banbury and District Samaritans were at Hook Norton Beer Festival last weekend to encourage people to listen as part of its Talk to Us campaign.

The charity says listening is key to bringing down the number of suicides and has issued tips – SHUSH – on how to improve 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.

SHUSH stands for:

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, and follow up eg, ‘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.

Director Davina Birkbeck, from Banbury and District Samaritans, said: “We can all do our bit to encourage people to be better listeners and reach out for help if they need to. In general, people love to give advice and love to give opinions, but this year we’re asking people 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, and wants to encourage people to ask for help early if they are struggling, rather than waiting until they reach a crisis.”

An information evening is being held at 33 Albert Street, Banbury, on Saturday August 12, 10am to noon. For more details phone 07473 581379 or email banbury@samaritans.org. Visit http://www.samaritans.org/banbury.