Scotland's '˜Year of Listening' launched for better mental health

Today is National Breathing Space Day and also marks the launch of Scotland's Year of Listening.

The year of listening aims to encourage people to talk through their problems.

The annual awareness day, which urges people in Scotland to take some ‘breathing space’ to look after their mental wellbeing, will encourage Scots to take time to listen.

The Year of Listening is an initiative 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.

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Tony McLaren, Breathing Space National Coordinator, 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. Whether you are a friend, parent, sibling, colleague, spouse, neighbour or carer, take time to listen today.”

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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. 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.