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In times of need, we all need someone to turn to. Talking with someone who really listens and supports us can make us feel encouraged and reassured that things will change for the better.

Supporting a colleague who’s showing signs of stress begins with a conversation. Knowing how to be an effective listener will make the conversation productive and is an important skill to have in your personal life as well as the workplace.

These tips from the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) curriculum will help you be an effective listener:

  1. Be prepared. Before attempting to start a conversation with your colleague, make sure you are prepared. Consider these things:
      • Can I be positive and supportive?
      • Can I be patient?
      • Do I have the right attitude?
      • Can I be a friend and not a critic?
      • Is now the right time?
      • Do we have good rapport?
  1. Listen actively. Effective listening allows you to affirm someone’s experiences. Remember to be authentic, empathetic, positive and respectful, and acknowledge the information they have shared with you.
  2. Take care of your own mental health. Acknowledge and respect the limits of what you can do and maintain healthy boundaries. This will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed by the events at hand.

Listening effectively is the first step in helping your colleague get the support they may need. Mental Health First Aid at Work teaches tips and techniques to empower your coworkers and employees, and make sure there are adequate resources on hand when they need support.

Learn more about how you can #BeTheDifference in your workplace with Mental Health First Aid at Work.