Volunteers from Horsham and Crawley Samaritans campaigned at Horsham station last month, as part of a nationwide push called The Big Listen to raise funds for Samaritans and show how really listening to another person can be the first step to saving a life.
A Number of volunteers from the local branch set up stands at the station during peak times to try and raise awareness of the importance of helping someone talk through their problems by really listening to them.
The Samaritans emphasised SHUSH listening tips for commuters – Show you care, Have patience, Use open questions, Say it back and Have courage.
Volunteer Eileen Sharpe from Samaritans’ Branch in Denne Road Horsham said: “Up to one in five adults have thought about taking their own life at some point. When people feel as low as that, they really need to be able to talk about their feelings, which means they need people to listen.
“With The Big Listen, we were encouraging people to look out for one another, and if you see someone who may be struggling, ask how they are. It’s something we don’t often ask people, or we ask very superficially and never expect an in-depth answer.”
Branch Director Roger Dugdale explained: “That’s usually what Samaritans do – we stop and take the time to actually ask people how they’re really feeling and give them the opportunity to really talk about it, something we don’t often do in our daily lives.
“We never give advice, because we think people generally know the answers to their problems themselves and, that talking things through, they can un-jumble what’s going on and seek their own solutions which are better than being told what to do, and much more powerful.”
Eileen Sharpe is the local Branch Partnerships Director. She provided an insight into the work she does: ”
As well as answering the telephone, emails and text messages, people also talk to us face to face in the Branch. Within the Partnership role we support people in other ways too; we visit our local Salvation Army and Crawley Open House as well as training listeners in Lewes Prison.”
Funds raised by The Big Listen will help Samaritans keep its services free for anyone who needs them, as well as helping to recruit, train and support volunteers and run local branches across the UK.
You can follow #TheBigListen @samaritans on Twitter, @samaritanscharity on Instagram, or via Samaritans’ facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/samar
Picture: Samaritans sharing their listening skills this summer