- Listen – Active listening is crucial to understanding what help is needed. Ask yourself:
- Is this person in danger or in crisis?
- Is this person a threat to themselves or others?
- Is this person wanting something specific?
If the answer is yes to A or B, call 911 or get the person to the nearest emergency room ASAP. Listening is the most important step. You will not know how to respond if you are not listening.
- Ask Direct Questions – Ask to find out more information. Direct questions allow you to understand where they are coming from and what their specific needs are at that moment.
- Be Genuine – If the person feels as though they are a burden, they will clam up. If they feel that you genuinely care, they will share more. Build trust at whatever speed they feel comfortable with.
- Validate Your Information – When providing a resource, make sure you have verified it is. Do not rely on word of mouth — or a hunch.
It’s important to provide unbiased resources, giving the individual options for their own care. Being unbiased allows you to build trust and show that you are putting their needs above your own personal agenda. This is what truly supporting someone looks like.
- Just Be Present – You don’t always have to fix something. Just be the shoulder to cry on or ear to listen. Many people feel that they aren’t being heard, but instead being referred. Having someone just be there is more valuable than many people realize.
Keep an open mind, think fast on feet, and remember you don’t need to be a hero. Working together, you can keep the person you’re helping safe.