Support Strategies

Strategies to Support Someone in Emotional Crisis

In recovering from a stressful event, trauma or crisis, it is essential that one have the support of friends, family, co-workers and loved ones. The following are suggested strategies for helping someone cope:

  • Listen
  • Give permission for her/him to repeat her/his story
  • Allow periods of silence
  • Avoid euphemisms and cliches
  • Take care of yourself
  • Allow tears and laughter
  • Be honest
  • Provide a place of safety
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Recognize your own reactions
  • Ask questions respectfully
  • Avoid saying “I know how you feel”
  • Don’t personalize the other’s emotional responses
  • Do not assume that another’s faith beliefs are like your own
  • Spend time together doing something enjoyable
  • Don’t try to fix it
  • Be patient
  • Lower expectations for a while
  • Learn about normal stress reactions
  • Support the use of professional services

If you are concerned about a loved one’s response to a stressful event, trauma or crisis, encourage them to consult a professional or contact our 24-Hour Crisis Line.

Within King County, Washington, you can anonymously and confidentially talk with a professionally trained volunteer who can help you determine if your loved one needs professional consultation. Contact the 24-Hour Crisis Line at 206.461.3222, toll-free at 866.4CRISIS or via our TDD line at 206.461.3219.

Outside of King County, please call 9-1-1 and ask to be connected to your local crisis help line or call 1.800.SUICIDE.

Adapted from MCC Behavioral Care Inc. and Crisis Clinic