How to Help Someone You Care About
So many questions
It's likely that many of us know someone who is directly affected by these issues. Whether it's someone you barely know or are very close to, you may have questions:
- What should I do or say about my concerns?
- Will my actions put either of us at risk?
- Can I do anything to help before the situation becomes violent?
How to be supportive
Try not to rush the survivor into making decisions and instead provide a non-judgmental listening ear. Providing a safe space for someone processing what has happened or is happening can often be more valuable than other actions.
Let the survivor know you are there and support them.
Give the survivor the authority to make their own decisions and choices about what to do currently and moving forward. Your role can be to help in this process rather than making decisions for them.
To the extent you are able, maintain the survivor's privacy and do not share their information without their permission.
- If you are a mandated reporter and/or a responsible employee, please look into the appropriate policies and procedures regarding confidentiality pertaining to these issues.
Safety is a key consideration when attempting to offer help and support. If the survivor you are speaking to does not feel safe or needs to explore safety options, yourself or the survivor can contact SAPA or another resource to discuss options.
Understand Differences in Healing
No two people cope in exactly the same way and each survivor's healing process is unique to the individual. Express nonjudgmental support and understand that the healing process is not a time-limited experience.
While feelings of anger are justified, acting on those feelings is not. Seeking revenge may put you and/or the survivor at additional safety risks.
If someone you care about is considering suicide, learn the warning signs, and offer help and support. For more information about suicide prevention please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800-273-TALK (8255) any time, day or night.
If you feel stuck on how to help, contact SAPA or another confidential crisis/support system. This enables you to explore options and get support for yourself while maintaining a survivor's privacy.
Don't forget about yourself
Concern for others and offering support can be emotionally, mentally, and physically strenuous. Be kind to yourself, know your limits, and seek support for yourself as needed. SAPA is here for you as well and can provide a safe space to:
- Learn about options and resources for the survivor
- Learn about options and resources for yourself
- Discuss your experiences as a support person and the impact of everything you are experiencing.
How to get involved
Knowing about somebody who has been affected can sometimes inspire a person to become more involved and join the efforts of many others. Click to find out ways on how to get involved.