Talk To Us 2021: How To Become A Better Listener

Every July, the Samaritans run an awareness campaign called ‘Talk To Us’. The aim is to raise awareness that the Samaritans are there 24/7 to listen to anyone who may be struggling.

Starting a conversation with someone can be difficult but it can mean a lot to those who may be struggling and need someone to talk to.

We think it’s important for everyone to be comfortable to start conversations about mental health with those around them. However, it’s also important to be a good listener if you are going to start conversations about sensitive subjects. Take a look at some tips below…

How can I become a better listener?

How To Become A Better Listener

Give your full attention

It can be very difficult for someone to open up and admit that they are struggling, therefore, it’s really important to give your full attention if you’re starting a conversation with someone about their mental health. Focus on what they are saying and keep devices like your phone away.

Actively listen

Allow the person to talk but make sure you are interacting as this show’s that you care. You can interact in ways like giving some advice or asking them questions.

Show you’ve heard and understood

You can communicate verbally and non-verbally to show someone that you are listening. For example, make sure you are giving eye contact and that your body language is open. You can also sum up what the person has said to you and check to see you have got it right to verbally show you have been listening.

Empathise with them

Reminding the person that others may be going through something similar may help them feel less alone.

Encourage them

It can be difficult to be encouraging when someone is feeling down. However, try to point out any positives in what they are saying. It is important to understand the seriousness of mental illness but try to empathise that they can get better and be a more resilient person for it.

Follow up with them

To show them that you care and understand, text or call them a few days after your conversation to check up on them. See how their situation is and reassure them that you are there for them.

Depression Warning Signs: What Are They?

If you can spot depression warning signs early, then it can become less likely to disrupt or become a long-term problem for you or the person who may be experiencing it.

Take a look at what the warning signs of depression are here.

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