Dismiss Modal

How to Support Well-Being Amidst a Crisis

Psychological First Aid*

How to be emotionally supportive to others when they are distressed


  • Define your role — “I’m here as a support.”
  • Find a quiet and safe place to talk.
  • Limit what distractions you can for the time you can.
  • Listen, but try to avoid pressuring others to discuss their own personal trauma or recounting personal details — “I’m here to listen.” “Feel free to share what you want, but please don’t feel pressured to talk about anything you don’t want to talk about.”

Calm Communication

  • Communicate in a calm, warm tone.
  • You may need to repeat yourself at times if person is distressed/distracted.
  • Help them ground themselves as needed — “Let's take some slow, deep breaths.”
  • It is okay to sit with silence and/or tears.


  • Ask what their needs are.
  • Try not to assume their “whys” or “whats.” Just try to listen.


  • Help them to identify their own supports and points of connection.
  • It is okay to get concrete and help them connect to their friends/loved ones in the moment.


It is okay to offer practical suggestions of how they can meet their own needs.

Practicing Self-Care

Allow them to assign any spiritual or religious meaning that brings them comfort (but avoid projecting your own beliefs on them).

Hopefulness and Additional Support

Familiarize yourself with additional resources that are available.

*Adapted from materials from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress