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How To Help Those Struggling In Difficult Times

When trauma or difficult times strike someone close to you, knowing how to help them can be difficult. These kinds of occurrences are common, and it’s important that we learn the technique necessary to help them in the best way we can. The nature of these struggles can vary, and people respond to certain situations differently than others. For some, financial instability can cause serious anxiety and may even trigger certain underlying traumas. Others may respond to the loss of a loved one with relative aplomb, expressing sadness at their passing but seeming largely unaffected. All these forms of addressing adverse situations are appropriate and healthy in general. So how do you determine what kind of support your friend or family member needs?

How To Help Those Struggling In Difficult Times

We will start with the most important part of this entire situation. You must take care of yourself before attempting to support others. Just as those going through difficult times may be dealing with them differently, providing support can be an emotionally taxing experience for many people. If you haven’t ensured that your needs are met first, it won’t be easy to adequately support them during their time of need. With that out of the way, let’s look at the other important parts of providing support.

  • Communicate – Just as it’s essential that those looking for support talk about what they’re struggling with, it’s critical that you ask how you can support them. Different people need different kinds of support, which may vary from day to day or situation to situation. They may need you to listen without offering solutions. On the other hand, they may be looking for advice or a voice to echo their own feelings and be sad or angry with them. 
  • Really Listen – Listening is something we haven’t all been taught how to do well. Make no mistake; listening is a skill that can be tricky to master. When someone shares their struggles with you, give them space to talk and share their experiences. Restrain your responses to acknowledgments of what they said and questions that show you’re listening. Further, stay focused on them so they know you’re listening. 

A caveat about this last one: for some people, being looked at when they’re talking is essential to reassuring them that they’re being heard. For others, making eye contact while speaking may be distinctly uncomfortable. Further, these may be true for the listener as well. Be certain that you explain this to them, and explain that you are actively listening. Further, you can ask them to provide ways to reassure them while staying in your comfort zone.

Get Help Supporting The Ones You Care About

These tips represent the foundation of providing meaningful support for those you care about. If you’d like to learn more ways to actively and healthily support those going through difficult times, call us today at (201) 977-2889. You can also stop in and talk to a team member at one of our offices in Paramus, Upper Saddle River, Patereson, and East Orange, NJ.

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Helene A. Miller / And Other Providers
Family Psychiatry and Therapy brings compassion, understanding, and skilled care to patients throughout New Jersey. Our team of mental health professionals focuses on providing a positive and uplifting experience that aids our patients in facing life’s toughest challenges.