Updated: Apr 29
In real terms we are as members of the public, pretty useless in communications skills and having real time meaningful face to face conversations. We have discussions about the working day, weather, sport, travel, TV, lunch, holidays, appointments, schooling and so forth.
When it comes to serious discussions such as mental health, self harm & suicide we simply do not know how to handle these conversations. One of the main reasons is due to the fact that we become uncomfortable when dealing with issues that could cause distress, upset or challenge our own beliefs.
Whilst campaigns such as #LetsGetBritanTalking are great for creating Mental Health Awareness, members of the public are sometimes not best placed or qualified in understanding deep and meaningful conversations, especially around topics such mental health and in particular self harm or suicide. Without appropriate training and awareness quite often emotional language is used without thinking the response through. The key is the ability to listen, the ability to understand what is actually being said. We listen to conversations every day, watch TV programmes, listening to the radio, have chats with the neighbours are good examples 'but do we actually listen'.
What happens for example should you be down the pub with a friend and they say "I'm really depressed, down on my luck, in debt, just lost my job, getting divorced and they then say "I'm really thinking about ending it" most friends or colleagues would reply, "seriously mate you'll be fine, let's have another drink and a pat on the back".
Or 3/4 questions in, and you find that you are doing most of the talking or you have nowhere else to take the conversation?
It's all too often the natural response from the untrained person. The Flashlight Project course will show you how to respond calmly, rationally and deal with the statement that you heard your friend made. Once you have completed the training modules nothing will make you more proud that you have actually learned to listen effectively.
When you are calm and rational people will listen to you, the art of this course is the more people open up and talk the more useful information will be forthcoming. The skills you learn from the course will open up your world so that you can effectively become a good listener. 'Listening skills' are paramount to the success of the conversations you will have.
Knowing what services are available is also important because you may well need to offer that redress and those links to expert services such as the Samaritans. Your training and outcomes from this course will give you skills in conversation, using the right methods and tools so that your of assistance, help and support rather than an emotional hindrance.