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How to be a good listener - and it doesn’t involve giving advice

We all need to talk sometimes but how can we be better listeners? We get tips from the true experts – the Samaritans

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Trust your gut and reach out if you think someone could do with support. Image: Diego Schtutman

Trust your gut and reach out if you think someone could do with support. Image: Diego Schtutman

Michael Keelan called the Samaritans himself before becoming a volunteer. Photo: Paul Connor

Michael Keelan called the Samaritans himself before becoming a volunteer. Photo: Paul Connor

Trust your gut and reach out if you think someone could do with support. Picture posed

Trust your gut and reach out if you think someone could do with support. Picture posed

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Trust your gut and reach out if you think someone could do with support. Image: Diego Schtutman

Each year, Samaritans Ireland volunteers receive 500,000 calls and emails from people in despair. Though many of these people will be suicidal, most will be people who just desperately need to talk to someone who will listen — actually listen — with compassion and without judgement.

But as busy as Samaritans are, not everyone who needs to talk will pick up the phone and call them. Many will keep their troubles to themselves. Some, however, may reach out to a friend, a colleague, a family member or even a stranger.


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