Helping in Crises

As wonderful as life can be, and often is, a majority of people will encounter a personal crisis of some kind at some point. How do you support them in their hour of need?

Understand that medical professionals, first responders, counselors and many other professions require the ability to respond effectively to the crises of others. As skilled as they may be, their work isn’t cookie-cutter. They must recognize that each person is unique for a variety of reasons. Therefore, helpers build into their skill set a recognition of how differently individuals respond to a crisis.

There is a plethora of crisis situations: death, divorce, accidents and many more. Since many of these events are sudden and unexpected, the level of shock experienced is often severe.

We have been on both sides. We have needed assistance for personal tragedies. We have also been honored professionally to provide care to others.

There are many approaches to helping people who are experiencing a calamity. Here are some guidelines that may assist you in helping others in need:

  • Check-in with them. Your visible show of support at the outset and later is of monumental importance.
  • Be present and listen to what they are expressing. Giving advice is often not helpful in initial crisis stages unless there is a threat to their safety. Your loving presence is a gift.
  • Know that there are times when there is no apparent solution to a particular problem. For example, if someone is experiencing a loved one’s death, you are limited in fixing the situation.
  • Support them in finding resources. There are counselors, clergy, the Red Cross and community support agencies for nearly every kind of crisis.
  • Practice your own self-care. Without a sense of balance, you can find yourself succumbing to your own set of symptoms.