Scots urged to take the time to listen

Scotland's Year of Listening was launched on February 1
Scotland's Year of Listening was launched on February 1
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People are being urged to take the time and offer an empathetic ear following the launch of Scotland’s Year of Listening.

The initiative, launched on February 1, is being promoted by Breathing Space and Living Life mental health telephone services to highlight that listening and being listened to, is good for your mental health.

February 1 also marked National Breathing Space Day.

Tony McLaren, breathing space national co-ordinator, said: “We like to think we are good listeners but often find ourselves not truly listening.

“Talking through your problems is great, but it can only help if you feel like you are being heard and perhaps understood.

“Relationships and friendships, where we feel listened to, can have a huge positive impact on our sense of wellbeing. This Year of Listening is a reminder for us all to try to be better listeners.”

He added: “Whether you are a friend, parent, sibling, colleague, spouse, neighbour or carer, take time to listen today.”

The Year of Listening launch is being promoted by a number of national organisations and supported by Jamie Hepburn MSP, minister for sport, health improvement and mental health.

Mr Hepburn said: “Looking after our mental health and wellbeing is crucial.

“An important part of this is listening empathetically to friends, family or colleagues. Listening carefully and providing support in response can help people to feel a stronger sense of connection, helping to support confidence and wellbeing.

“The Breathing Space telephone advice line and the NHS Living Life service provide an invaluable service for people experiencing low mood, depression and anxiety.

“It can make such a difference to know that there’s someone there who is willing to listen and offer an empathetic ear. He added: “I’d like to thank the Breathing Space and NHS Living life teams for the tremendous work they do to support positive mental health and wellbeing.”

Breathing Space is a free telephone service where advisors offer listening and advice to anyone feeling low, depressed or anxious. The service is open evenings and weekends on 0800 83 85 87.

Living Life is a free telephone service for anyone in Scotland experiencing low mood, mild to moderate depression or symptoms of anxiety. The service can be accessed by GP referral or by phoning 0800 328 9655 for an assessment appointment.