Talk to a Skilled Listener

Talking with a skilled listener helps you to gather information for yourself

How can talking help?

Skilled listeners range from crisis line support workers to professional counsellors and help to:

  • Offer a fresh perspective; give new ideas for how to get “unstuck” and think about your life in new ways.
  • Raise confidence, self-esteem, and improve communication and relationships with others. 
  • Lower anxiety and cope with depression symptoms.

When do I know I need to talk to someone?

There are many reasons to talk to someone, such as when:

  • You feel stressed or it seems difficult to concentrate.
  • Something scary or violent happened around you.
  • Your relationships with other people have changed or disappeared.
  • You are ready to gather more information about what you want to do next.

What can I expect when I talk to someone?

The first time you talk to someone, the skilled listener will:

  • Do their best to help you feel comfortable and talk about their training and ways to help.
  • May ask you to write some answers to questions, to help them understand your concerns.
  • Explain that what you share is confidential and can be kept private unless you tell them information that puts you or someone else at risk for harm.

What do I need to do to prepare?

If there is anything specific you need to bring or do, you will be provided with directions. It is helpful to plan for spending about one hour if you see someone in person.

What can I talk about?

Skilled listeners are available to talk about whatever you decide is important to share.

Where can I find someone to talk with?

There are skilled listeners you can reach out to and many places you can look for information. The important step is gathering the courage to start. Talking to a skilled listener may occur over the phone or in an office. 

  • Talk to someone you trust. They may know of a counsellor you can talk to.
  • Speak with a doctor about your concerns, and they can help you with ideas.
  • 24 hours a day you can call 211 or visit www.ab.211.ca
  • Go to www.informalberta.ca on the web
  • In the city of Edmonton, six days a week you can walk-in and speak with a counsellor. Information is available at: www.walkinedmonton.org.
  • Go to www.wellnessnetworkedmonton.com on the web or call (780) 488-0851

Other places to call:

  • Distress Line (780) 482 HELP (4357)
  • Teens Help Phone 1 (800) 668-6868 
  • The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (780) 423-4121

Alberta Health Services (AHS)

  • Addiction Helpline 1 (866) 332-2322
  • Community Urgent Services (780) 342-7777
  • Alberta-wide Mental Health Help Line 1 (877) 303-2642
  • Health Link 811
  • Children’s Mental Health Crisis Line (780) 427-3391 (No overnight services)

Other Government of Alberta Helplines

  • Family Violence Info Line 310-1818
  • Bullying Helpline 1 (888) 456-2323
  • Child Abuse Hotline 1 (800) 387-5437

This information was produced by the Mental Health Literacy Project working group:


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