It’s good to talk – and even better to listen

Never has there been greater recognition of the benefits of talking about our troubles and our woes. A problem shared is a problem halved or even solved; so the saying goes.

The understanding of the depth of issues that can impact on our mental health continues to rise. But if someone wanted to unburden themselves to you, would you know what best to do?

In July, our most celebrated listeners, The Samaritans, have their annual Talk to Us campaign which raises awareness of their services which are provided 24/7 without judgement and pressure.

Their SHUSH active listening guidelines include some real nuggets on how we can be better at hearing what people tell us.

Have patience

These include having patience as it may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to talk. They shouldn’t feel rushed; a safe environment is what is required.  Effective listening is about creating trust.

One of the most common traits many of us have is jumping in to give an immediate reaction to what we’ve just heard but the Samaritans recommend waiting as the other person may not have finished speaking. Also, they may be finding it difficult to articulate what they’re feeling.

Other suggestions include repeating back to the person what they’ve just told you. This demonstrates they are being heard, have your undivided attention and acts as a check that you’re understanding them fully.

Mental health campaigners Time To Change also offer practical assistance as part of  their #AskTwice campaign, so called because often when asked we’ll say ‘we’re fine’, when we’re not.

Their advice includes posing open questions to keep the conversation going. This might be things like ‘how are you feeling?’ or ‘how can I help?’.

Here at Merrick, we have many years of listening experience.


We recognise and understand the courage it takes to talk with a stranger about those life issues that are usually shared only with your nearest and dearest family and friends.

We use our depth of experience to enable the support and advice needed at a particularly difficult time.

Relationship breakdown remains one of life’s most stressful events. It invariably impacts on how you act, think and feel every day and the cumulative effect can seem overwhelming. But the first step is knowing you’re not alone.

Have faith and remember that just as others before you have worked through it with help, so can you.

To that end we’re connected to a wide range of support services so we can signpost to other appropriately qualified providers if that’s what you need.

Client care is central to everything we do, it’s at the heart of the values that define us, it’s why we created Merrick Life.

#ItsGoodToTalk #ItsOkNotToBeOk #TalktoUs