How You Can Help Someone Experiencing Crisis or Emotional Pain

Published on November 19, 2020

I think a lot of us can relate to having a friend, a student, a classmate, a team mate, or even a family member who has experienced some form of mental health crisis or emotional pain. We want to share these actionable steps that you can take to help those folx in your lives affected by crisis.


When we have people in our lives that are going through mental health crisis sometimes a great way to help them is to ask them directly “Are you thinking about harming yourself?” studies have shown that asking this does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. Although it’s not an easy question to ask, it could help save a life.

Keep’em Safe

As we’re asking our loved ones in crisis questions, we want to also reduce their access to lethal items or places.  Making sure they’re staying put at home, making sure that objects that they can use to harm themselves is out of reach, etc. can make a huge difference.

Be There for Them

This is an important step. Make sure you’re there for them during this time of need, listen carefully to what they’re saying and acknowledge what they’re feeling. Studies have shown that acknowledging and talking about suicide may actually reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.

Help them get connected

Help get them connected to crisis lines and hot lines that can help connect them to resources and professional services that can help.  Hotlines like the California Youth Crisis Line are operating 24/7 (including holidays) and can be reached by calling or texting 800-843-5200, crisis counselors are there to help listen, acknowledge, and provide a judgement free zone for those in crisis to feel safe in.

Stay connected with them

After the initial wave of crisis has ended, be sure to stay in touch and check in with your loved one. Give them a call or text or even visit them. Research has shown that the number of suicides and self-harm cases go down when someone follows up.

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