Learning to Listen
A Guide to Active Listening and Suicide Prevention
Learning to Listen…
Sooner or later, we all experience stress. Sometimes the pressures of a situation just seem like they are too much to handle. Other times, we just don’t know exactly what’s wrong except that something is bothering us. The more pressure we feel, the more out of control the situation becomes. What we need is someone to talk to about the situation. Even more important is to find someone, anyone, who will listen to us.
At some point in time, everyone is approached by a neighbour, a friend, a co-worker or a family member who wants to talk. Often that person feels overwhelmed and unable to cope with a problem (or many problems) and is starting to feel panicky. When this happens, what can we do? How can we help? Listening helps. That is what this booklet is about – how to help someone by listening.
Since suicide has traditionally been a taboo topic in our society, a depressed person often feels alienated, which only makes the problem worse. We could go a long way to reducing our suicide rate by accepting people as they are, by talking about feeling suicidal, and telling people that it is OK to feel so bad that you’d think about suicide. Simply talking about how you feel greatly reduces your distress and you can begin to see other options, and are much less likely to attempt suicide.
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