Helping a Friend in Crisis
When a friend or family member is in a crisis, your aim should be to help them cope with it and grow through it. Sometimes that’s easier said than done! As their hurting heart adjusts to new and unfamiliar circumstances, they might be sceptical about whom to trust. But being there for them is what caring is all about!
‘Carry each other’s burdens’
Your commitment can play a significant role in someone’s journey towards becoming emotionally healthy again. Here are three practical suggestions:
(1) Don’t expect them to initiate contact.
It’s common for people in crisis to withdraw rather than ask for help. Often they’re too distraught to know what they need, so you’ll probably have to make the first move. And please don’t feel like you have to be a professional. Two simple steps can make the hurting one feel valued and understood:
(a) Listen carefully to their concerns and perceptions.
(b) Maintain eye contact and show genuine interest.
(2) Help reduce their anxiety.
Offer a calming presence by inviting them to share their feelings. And if their viewpoint seems distorted, say something like, ‘May I suggest another way of looking at things?’
(3) Help them focus on what’s important.
They’re feeling overwhelmed, so help them sort out the issues that need their immediate attention. Instead of rehashing the past and worrying about the future, encourage them to concentrate on the present and ‘live one day at a time’