I am just 1 person, what can I do to support Survivors?


Yes I know what you are thinking, but as cliché as this may sound, even 1 person can make a difference. Before you walk away or in this case-click away, hear me out.

At one point of our lives, we must have all wished that there would be someone there for us. It’s nothing embarrassing that when we go through hard times, we want someone to hear our rants and comfort us. Or even if this is not the case for you, I’m sure you would find other ways to feel better.

If you reflect back on your life, would you be able to think of someone that was there for you? Perhaps your friends and family members come to your mind, or for some, you may only be able to think of 1 such person.

That 1 person (or people) is what reminds us of the influence an individual can hold.

Most of the time, we just need 1 person who can get what we are going through. It doesn’t have to be grandeur, a simple pat on the shoulder or being there as a listening ear goes miles.

It’s the same for suicide survivors. Although they experience intense feelings of pain and loss after losing someone to suicide, they are just like us. They are individuals who simply need to be cared for, and these are some ways you can do so:

Be a Non-Judgemental Listener

It’s important to be there as a listening ear to them, especially when they trust you enough to open up to you about their struggles. However, what is even more important is what kind of listener you choose to be.

If you listen to them feeling exasperated or impatient, then the kind of energy they get is that you are frustrated with them and that will certainly not help them feel understood.

On the contrary, if you can listen to them patiently (especially when they may still be talking about the same events over and over again) and show that you are willing to help them go through their pain, then I think that is what will make you a good listening ear.

Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

Help Them Help Themselves

You might want to rush in and save the people in a burning building, but sometimes it’s wiser to let them find their own way out. Of course, don’t just stand there doing nothing. Ultimately survivors are the only ones that can make that decision to move forward, no one else can do that for them. However, you can still help them take that first step. It gets easier for them just by knowing that you are there for them when they want to get better. For example, they could be thinking of seeking professional help or going back to an old hobby. Whatever that may be, be there to support them when they take their first steps towards healing.

Include Them in a Community

Well, everyone’s definition of a community may be different, but the essence of it is where one can receive support from others. It is essential that survivors are surrounded with people who are supportive and understanding of their circumstances. Hence, be part of their social circle, so that they are not isolated. Additionally, you might want to consider encouraging them to join support groups for survivors specifically. For many survivors, they find comfort in hearing sharings from others who have faced similar experiences and emotions. In such support groups, it could even help them to develop bonds and friendships with other survivors. Support groups are but one option, the bottom line is still that community is so important in helping them feel less alone. I can’t stress this enough.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

These are just some ways that you can support survivors. At the end of the day, don’t discount the role that you play in their lives. You may be that only 1 person that they feel understood by.

By Liora Siau (student contributor)