Volunteers from Worthing Samaritans were at Worthing Railway Station yesterday for The Big Listen, giving out simple listening tips.
The awareness-raising event, involving more than 80 branches across the UK, was part of the Samaritans’ month-long Talk to Us campaign.
Di Woolloff, director at Worthing Samaritans, 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.”
The Big Listen event highlighted the support Samaritans provides for the community, centring 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 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.
The SHUSH tips include showing you care, having patience, using open questions, saying it back and having courage.
The idea is to focus on the other person and accepting it may take time for them to be ready to open up. Questions that need more than a yes or no answer help and repeating it back makes sure the situation has been understood correctly.
Samaritans says do not interrupt or offer a solution, do not be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, do not be afraid to leave silence.
The campaign emphasises: “Good listening is hard but Samaritans believes it essential in bringing down the number of suicides.”