Every year in July, Samaritans branches in the UK and Republic of Ireland hold local events to raise awareness that Samaritans are here to listen to anyone who’s struggling to cope, at any time of the day or night. The campaign titled ‘Samaritans Awareness Day’ or ‘Talk To Us Campaign’ encourages the importance of communication and it’s importance for mental health. Whether it’s a virtual chitchat, or a picnic in the park, Talk to Us is one of the ways they raise awareness that they’re here – for anyone who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure.
Samaritans are there to listen 24/7 – for anyone that needs them. But they’re also encouraging people to become better listeners, and to get involved on social media on 24th July and pledge to become a better listener.
Becoming a better listener can help you support loved ones who may be struggling to cope. It can also help improve your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. You could help your loved ones open up about how they’re feeling by making some small changes to the way you listen. Why not try pledging one of the following things:
- I pledge to listen without being distracted
- I pledge to listen without interrupting
- I pledge to check in with my loved ones more often and ask them how they really are
Or, you can make up your own pledges.
Listen without being distracted
Try things like making eye contact, putting your phone away and focusing completely on the other person. If you’re talking to someone on the phone, try doing it in a quiet place.
Listen without interrupting
Try and remember that pauses are fine, you don’t need to jump in and fill a silence. Resist putting your own interpretation on what the other person is saying, and repeat back what they say so it shows you’re listening.
Check in on loved ones
Why not try adding reminders to your calendar or phone, to check in with loved ones once or twice a week. Don’t give up, sometimes it can take a few tries to get someone to open up about how they’re feeling.
For any further information, please visit: www.samaritans.org/support-us/campaign/talk-us/