Community News

Gogglebox star helps Samaritans highlight the power of listening

Besi Besemar August 3, 2017

Brighton, Hove and District Samaritans call on the nation’s hairdressers and barbers to help people know that listening can save lives.

Around 160,000 hairdressers in the UK spend an estimated 2,000 hours a year hearing about the ups and downs of their clients’ lives.

By highlighting hairdressers’ listening expertise, Samaritans hopes to illustrate the value in everyone becoming better listeners, during the The Big Listen which began on Monday, July 24.

On that day, Samaritans asked the nation to build their listening skills by using its SHUSH! Listening Tips to help a friend, relative or family member who may be going through a tough time:


Samaritans Listening Tips or S-H-U-S-H:

  • Show you care:  focus just on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone
  • Have patience:  it may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up
  • Use open questions:  that need more than a yes/no answer, & follow up e.g. ‘Tell me more’
  • Say it back:  to check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution
  • Have courage:  don’t be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, don’t be                               afraid to leave silence

Samaritan volunteers are available anytime from any phone to help people who are struggling.

“Suicide is everybody’s business and we can all do our bit to encourage people to be better listeners and reach out for help if they need to,” said Alison, Branch Director at Brighton, Hove and District Samaritans.

Henry from Brighton, Hove and District Samaritans spoke to celebrity hairdresser Stephen Webb from Gogglebox about how listening to his clients can make a real difference to their wellbeing.

Stephen Webb
Stephen Webb

He said: “When you’re a hairdresser you get to know that maybe the person who’s sitting in the chair in front of you might be the only person that they can really talk to. That’s something you really learn. You’re kind of reaching out to them. You’re never crossing the line that you strike up a friendship outside of the salon, it’s always within the salon walls.

I think it’s really important to give everyone the time, because it might take them time to actually want to open up and they might be nervous on top of the issues they may be experiencing.”

Traditionally, people feel they can confide in their hairdresser or barber and those working within the profession understand the importance of their role in providing a listening ear.

“As a hairdresser over time you realise that the person sitting in front of you could be in real need of a chat. A massive part of my job is to simply listen and as a hairdresser we take the role as listeners very seriously. You go through so many things with your client’s deaths, births and marriages. And you’re there for each other every step of the way.”

For more information about Samaritans, click here: