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Small talk saves lives

3rd August 2021
Posted by Aston Avery

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The UK public may be internationally renowned for being more reserved  but a new survey by Samaritans shows how much we rely on small talk, even with the limiting social restrictions of the pandemic.

A YouGov survey shows that over three quarters of UK adults (78%) used small talk during the pandemic, whilst almost one in five (19%) say they are more likely to want to make  small talk with a stranger face to face once restrictions are lifted.

Just over half (51%) of those who are more likely to want to make small talk said it was because they now recognise the importance of human connection and with 39% of respondents saying they also appreciate the sense of community the pandemic brought out in people. Whilst during pandemic restrictions, people say they made small talk with neighbours they hadn’t spoken to before and with strangers at the supermarket (both 37%).

Despite the unprecedented events of the last year, the weather still remains the go-to subject for striking up conversation, chosen by 71% of people, compared to coronavirus in second place with 45%.

The findings come as Samaritans launches a new phase of Small Talk Saves Lives, in partnership with Network Rail, British Transport Police and the wider rail industry, to empower the public to act to prevent suicide on the railways and other settings.

Aston spoke to Dom Mottram, National Rail Employee and Lisa Marzano, leading suicide prevention expert from Middlesex University.

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