How to Support Family Members During Times of Crisis


When someone you love is feeling overwhelmed and anxious, it can be hard to know how to help. During times of crisis, it’s important that you’re on hand to provide love, care, and reassurance. In some cases, we may prefer to avoid that person in fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, however, this will make the situation worse.

No matter what your loved one is going through, here are some useful tips on how you can best support them.

Keep Communication Lines Open

If your loved one is going through a stressful period, it’s important that communication lines stay open. Letting them know that you’re thinking about them and are there whenever they need you can be a huge help. Checking in regularly and reaching out will give you a better indication of how they are coping and what they may need. Let them know that you are concerned about their wellbeing, but make sure not to pester them as they may be reluctant to open up. If you’re unable to see your loved one in person, giving them a call and showing you’re there is essential. 

Listen 

Knowing that there is somebody there to listen can be a huge help for your loved one. If they don’t feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings, giving them your time and undivided attention will show that you’re there to support them. If your family member feels ready to talk, make sure that you listen actively and let them do most of the talking. While you may want to interject and offer suggestions, only do so when asked. Also, don’t be hesitant to ask for clarification if you are unsure of what support they need.

Offer Reassurance

When a family member is in a crisis, stress levels will rise, which will make it difficult for them to see a way out. Providing consistent reassurance and reminding them that how they are feeling won’t last forever will help them feel more positive and upbeat. Retaining a positive mindset is key during a crisis and will make them keep things in perspective. Reassurance can decrease stress and anxiety and encourage proactive healthy behavior for your loved one.

Validate their Feelings

Being empathetic and putting yourself in their shoes can be helpful when supporting a family member during a crisis. While you may want them to snap out of it, try not to be judgmental or compare their situation to someone else’s. Validating their feelings and letting them know that it’s acceptable for them to feel how do they do is important. Empathy is crucial to help you understand how your loved one is feeling, which will give you the tools you need to respond appropriately. Once you can read their emotions, you can offer the best support possible. 

Offer Helpful Resources & Strategies

If you have been in a crisis yourself, you may have used certain techniques and strategies to help reduce stress levels, such as practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, eating well, getting enough sleep, and setting time for yourself. If your family member is religious, there are encouraging Bible Verses for hard times that can offer peace and reassurance for your loved one. There are websites like Mobile Axept that provide adoption strategies and connect convenient and effective solutions for congregations and ministries. 

Be Patient

When a family member is dealing with trauma or a crisis, they may be reluctant to speak to you. Rather than taking this as a negative, it’s important that you understand that everyone reacts differently, and some people may take more time to feel comfortable. Expressing patience will show that you’re supportive and caring to your loved one. It can be easy to get agitated if your family member isn’t opening up right away, however, reacting negatively may push them in the other direction.  

Encourage Professional Help

It’s only natural that you will feel concerned about your loved one’s mental and physical wellbeing during times of crisis, so if you feel it’s appropriate, encouraging them to seek professional help is important. Whether they speak to their doctor or a counselor, they may feel more at ease with someone who is not involved in the situation. In some instances, your loved one’s stress may be too big to handle for both of you, so urge them to seek professional help. If you’re really concerned about their wellbeing, you could ring a local crisis line that can provide advice and tips on how your loved one can cope.

No matter what kind of crisis your loved is going through, it’s vital that you’re there to provide reassurance and comfort. Seeing someone you care about going through a hard time can be overwhelming and difficult, however, by offering emotional support, this can help make their situation more manageable. 



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