Shush and listen, Luton!

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That’s the message from Samaritans in an effort to reduce the number of people who take their own lives – one every 90 minutes in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

As part of its Talk To Us campaign, the suicide prevention charity is on a mission to improve the UK’s listening skills with a series of tips claimed to be relationship transforming.

These include having patience – it may take time before a person is ready to open up – and using open questions that require more than a yes or no answer.

The charity recommends repeating back to check you’ve understood and have courage: don’t be put off by a negative response or be afraid to leave silence.

Spokesman Ian Franks said: “We’re a culture of people who love to give advice and opinions. But this year we’re asking people to Shush! and listen better to each other.

“Our 60 years of experience has taught us that just listening is the greatest gift you can give to someone – and that it can save lives.”

> Phone Samaritans free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org