Social Contact is a conversation and that means that as well as you sharing your experience, other people may want to share something with you. This could be their experience of people with mental health problems, their views more widely or their stigmatised attitudes about mental health. If someone wants to share their own experience of mental health, it may be better to close down the conversation politely, as we try to talk to people who don't know about mental health, so we can change their attitudes.
Top Tips for listening
- Even if you don't agree, let the person speak - people are more likely to be able to listen to you if you're listening to them.
- You can show people you've heard them by paraphrasing what they've said e.g. "It sounds like you're really passionate about your community."
- If you show people you can see what they're feeling, that can help to build a bond so they'll listen to your opinion too e.g. "I can see you're feeling angry about that".
- Asking open questions can help get people talking e.g. "Could you say a bit more about that?"
- Try to understand where the person is coming from, including if they are different from you or speak in a way that you aren't familiar with.