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Coping with Tragedy / Crisis

Here are some student tips for coping with crisis or tragedy.

Tips for Dealing with Tragedy

Tips on How to Help Your Friend or Loved One

It is typical for people to feel a variety of emotions after a traumatic event. Here are some tips that can help you assist a friend or loved one who is experiencing grief due to a traumatic event.

  1. Spend time with the person who experienced the trauma. Very often you don’t even have to say much just “being there” for them can be as helpful as anything you might be able to say.
  2. Encourage the person to talk about her feelings and emotions. But avoid telling the person “Everything will be OK” or “I know how you must feel.” Your role is to be a good listener. You don’t have to fix the situation (make it all better) or offer a rational explanation of why the event happened.
  3. Be respectful if the person requests some private time. But don’t assume the person wants to be alone just because he doesn’t seek you out first.
  4. Offer specific help. Avoid saying something vague, such as “How can I help?” Instead, say something such as “Can I help by taking care of the kids tonight?” or “Would it be OK if I brought dinner over tonight?”
  5. Remember that everyone (men, women and people of all ages) can be affected by a traumatic event.
  6. Sometimes people in trauma say or do things they wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. So don’t take it personally.
  7. Offer to accompany the individual to any events associated with the trauma (funerals, investigative hearings, court, etc.).
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