Give yourself some Breathing Space

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Breathing Space Day, which takes place on February 1, is an annual awareness-raising day and encourages people to take some time out to do something positive for their mental wellbeing.

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone and web-based service for people in Scotland who are experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression. It provides a safe and supportive space by listening, offering advice and providing information.

2016 is Scotland’s Year of Listening, which aims to raise awareness that both listening and being listened to are good for your mental health. This year the campaign encourages people to help those around them to have good mental wellbeing by the simple act of listening.

On Monday, February 1, a number of local cafes and other venues are hosting pop-up ‘listening posts’. Look out for the Year of Listening logo and pop in to pick up information or have a quick chat about the benefits of listening.

You can join in the Year of Listening on Twitter by using #YoL2016 to join in the conversation and tweet your thoughts about listening and ‘star listeners’ in your life.

Dr Deborah Gray, Senior Health Promotion Officer at NHS Tayside, said: “Most people like to think that they are good listeners but are we really listening? Could you be a better listener?

“Relationships and friendships in which we feel listened to can have a huge positive impact on our sense of wellbeing. The Year of Listening is an opportunity for us all to demonstrate our commitment to be better listeners. Whether you are a friend, parent, sibling, spouse, neighbour or carer, take time to listen today.

“You don’t need to be an expert to listen, knowing that someone is there for them and willing to listen may be what someone needs. Don’t feel you need to fill ‘gaps’ in the conversation, companionable silence can be really helpful too.

“Sometimes people just need some space to think about why they’re feeling anxious. You don’t need to be able to ‘fix’ someone’s problems, if you can show that you are really listening you are already helping.”

If you would like to learn more about how to help someone who might be having mental health difficulties, you can use a free online training package at or for details of other free training courses available across Tayside, contact or call 01382 424086.

Other helplines available 24/7 include Samaritans on 116 123, or NHS 24 on 111.

The Breathing Space phone line is available on 0800 838587 from Monday to Thursday 6pm – 2am and 24 hours at weekends (from Friday 6pm – Monday 6am). The website address is