How to listen

”I think we’re always looking for a solution to a problem, when just listening is the solution in itself.”

Sometimes all you can do is listen

Listening well is so vital when supporting someone who may be feeling depressed or suicidal. It can be really hard for someone to open up and talk about how they are feeling, and if they don’t feel like they are being fully listened to, it might mean they are more reluctant to talk to someone again. Often we want to just solve someone’s problems, but just being still and listening can be a tremendous help initially.

Take a look at our resources page which you might find useful.


1. Be present

You are unable to listen properly if you are busying yourself, put your phone away, stop what you are doing, give your time and be still.

2. Be quiet

Often we want to interrupt, give our opinions or try and offer solutions, but this isn’t the time for you, you might cut them off just as they were about to disclose something really important.

3. Be patient

Try not to rush someone into giving you all the information. This is going to be really hard for them and it is important to let them tell you how they are feeling in their own time.

4. Be calm

It can be distressing to hear some thoughts that a loved one is having, but remaining calm is really important. This way they’re more likely to open up to you in the future knowing they’re not distressing you.

5. Be kind

Knowing they’ve now told you how they are feeling might make them feel vulnerable, be kind and supportive to them and don’t judge them.


It's important to take care of yourself too

It can be overwhelming and difficult supporting someone with a mental health issue or with suicidal thoughts, make sure you look after yourself too.

Support for you