The power of listening

Annika Howard
Sophie Andrews, Chair of Helplines Partnership, at TEDMed

In a powerful and very personal TED Talk, our Chair and the CEO of The Silver Line, Sophie Andrews shares how a helpline became her lifeline.

In the short video, Sophie talks about how as a young girl, being sexually abused by her father and his friends, she made a call to the Samaritans. The Samaritans are a 24/7 confidential phone line for anyone who might be feeling desperate or suicidal.

At 21, when she had regained some control of her life, Sophie began to volunteer with the Samaritans to give something back to the organisation that she credits as really having saved her life. Sophie explains:

“I knew that the simple act of listening in an empathetic way could have a profound effect. I knew that somebody listening to me without judgement would make the biggest difference,”

Understanding how the simple act of listening can have a transforming effect on people’s lives, in 2013 Sophie launched a national confidential helpline, for older people, called The Silver Line. The organisation supports, lonely and isolated people through phone calls, group calls (Silver Circle) and pen-pal letters (Silver Letters).

To learn more about Sophie’s story watch the video, ‘the best way to help is often just to listen’.


If you are looking for help, advice, support or just a listening ear, visit our find a helpline page.

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