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Ways to Support Someone Who is Struggling

October 09, 2017

When someone in our life is going through a difficult time, even simple actions or words of encouragement can make a big difference.  Below are some suggestions to help someone in your life who is struggling.  If you are concerned that someone has thoughts of suicide or needs immediate support, our crisis center is here to help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (319) 362-2174 or 1-800-332-4224.

1.)    Ask the question “are you ok?”  There is a chance they might say “yes.”  Or it might help your friend to open up about what is really going on.

2.)    Encourage them to make a list of supportive people they can call during a difficult time.  Please include Foundation 2’s 24 hour crisis line, and chat and text support (available from 9 AM- 3 PM M-F at or by texting 800-332-4224.

3.)    Help to clean their place.  Someone who is overwhelmed by grief, depression or other illness may find it difficult to keep up with daily household chores.  Cleaning up a space can help to create a sense of calm.

4.)    Help them to stay occupied or distracted. Inviting a friend who is going through a difficult time to coffee, a movie, or over to play cards can provide a much needed break from the crisis in their life.  This might also be an opportunity for them to connect with you about their situation.

5.)    Create a coping crisis kit or care package. This can contain just about anything, but think about the kinds of things that are important to your friend.  Some suggestions include tea, bubble bath, a coloring book, magazines or funny movies.

6.)    Just be there. Sometimes you don’t need to say or do anything to support a friend in crisis.  Just being there can mean everything.

7.)    Accept your friend for who they are. Some people may be reluctant to reach out for help to friends during a difficult time because they don’t want to feel like a “burden.” Let your friend know that you appreciate them for who they are right now.

8.)    Follow-Up. If you know that a friend is going through a tough time, continue to check in and offer your help.  Even if they don’t need anything at the moment, knowing that you are there and thinking of them means a lot.

9.)    Take care of yourself. It takes a special person to serve as a support for a friend who is struggling.  Please make sure to take care yourself during this time, so that you have energy to continue to support others in your life. 

We would love to hear from you.  Do you have suggestions for ways that you support others in your life, or ways that you feel supported? 



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