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10 October has marked World Mental Health Day since 1992. This year the theme is ’40 seconds of action’. 
Why? Because someone loses their life to suicide every 40 seconds. 
It’s a heart-breaking subject and most of us don’t like to think about it, much less speak about it. 
As communication professionals, we know that listening is our most important skill. Here are some things we can all do to make a difference: 
Pay attention - We can all make a difference by taking a conscious decision to listen to our family members, friends and colleagues. We can pay attention to what they don’t say, as well as what they do say, and encourage them to share their feelings. 
Be positive - We can make sure we use positive language to speak about the issues that concern people. When we are dismissive, we isolate people who are struggling with their life and their feelings. 
Be ready to listen - Sometimes people who have been affected by mental health issues or suicide don’t know how to talk about their experiences. We can let them know that we really mean it when we ask “How are you?” and that we’re ready to listen. 
Don't judge - In the workplace we can all actively make sure that our colleagues feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Avoid using judgemental terms like “can’t cope” or “not up to the job” and instead look for ways to encourage and help people. 
Do challenge - If you see or hear others being negative, thoughtless or deliberately unkind, challenge them. 
Dig deep - If you have your own concerns and issues, dig deep to find the courage to speak with someone you know and trust. Don’t let your fears and worries stop you from asking for the help you need and deserve. 
Just a few seconds could make a huge difference to someone you know and help to convince them that they have  
a life that’s worth living. 
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