OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Helping Others Through a Traumatic Loss or Event

  • Reach out and let others know that you are available and can offer support.
  • Ask your friends what kinds of things feel supportive to them.  Some people love to be asked how they are doing while others want to bring it up on their own. Sometimes people don’t know what they need initially, so keep checking in.
  • Listen. Simply acknowledging feelings is important. Allow room for people to have their feelings, even as you try to reassure them.
  • Encourage others to give themselves time to heal, to mourn the losses and to be patient with changes in their emotional state.
  • Respect the need for privacy. Some people may need a lot of time alone.
  • Remember recovering from a tragic event or loss takes time and cannot be "fixed with a quick remedy." Sometimes your support will not be able to make someone feel better right away. So follow up frequently, which lets your friend know that you’re in for the long haul.

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