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Helping Others

The emotional toll of a crisis is unique to each individual, as is the need to discuss the issues that may surface. There are a number of ways you can help others restore emotional well being and a sense of control following a traumatic experience, including the following:

  • Listen. Simply acknowledging feelings is important. Allow room for people to have their feelings, even as you try to reassure them.
  • Allow for the expression of emotions. Provide a safe and quiet environment to discuss feelings and thoughts.
  • Encourage others to give themselves time to heal, to mourn the losses and to be patient with changes in their emotional state.
  • Help others communicate their experience in ways that feel comfortable to them - such as by talking with family or close friends, or keeping a diary.
  • Be accepting of your own feelings and reactions, as well as those of others.
  • Follow-up. Arrange to meet or call the person again. This demonstrates concern and understanding for their emotional pain.
  • To be helpful to others, you need to take care of yourself. Make time for yourself and try to maintain a balance between being supportive to others and yourself.
  • Remember healing from a loss takes time and can not be "fixed with a quick remedy." Sometimes your intervention will not be able to make someone feel better right away. Be prepared for this and don't take it as a comment on your helping skills.

Last Updated: 10/2/08