During July, the Samaritans are telling people to SHUSH! and listen.
As part of its month–long annual awareness-raising campaign, Talk to Us, Samaritans is on a mission to improve the UK’s listening skills with SHUSH! listening tips that it claims are ‘relationship transforming’.
The SHUSH listening tips are simple but effective and easily remembered.
S - Show you care: focus just on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone and engage.
H -Have patience: it may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up.
U - Use open questions: that need more than a yes/no answer and then follow up with something like ‘tell me more’.
S - Say it back: to check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution, let the conversation flow.
H - Have courage: don’t be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to leave silence.
Good listening is a difficult skill but Samaritans believes it essential in bringing down the number of suicides.
The demands on the Samaritan’s services is huge as every six seconds, someone in the UK and Ireland contacts them, and every 90 minutes in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, someone takes their own life.
Davina Birkbeck, from Banbury and District Samaritans says: “We listen. That’s what we’re here to do when people contact us, and sometimes it can be really challenging.”
“But you don’t have to be a Samaritan to be a good listener. We’re a culture of people who love to give advice, love to give opinions and quite frankly love the sound of our own voices.”
“This year we’re asking people all over the country to SHUSH! and listen better to each other.
“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 CEO Ruth Sutherland 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!”
“By becoming better listeners, together we will save lives.”
The Banbury Samaritans will be holding a series of information days in the coming weeks at the Albert Street location.
Firstly on Saturday July 30 from 10am, then Thursday August 11 from 7pm and finally on Saturday August 20 at 10 am. To book a place phone 07473 581379 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.