Readiness of supporters

For supporters

Not a few bereaved families say, “When I began to tell my story, the person had a troubled look…” When people see bereaved families, some are puzzled about what to say and how to listen to them. If the listener changes subject or encourages them without careful consideration, it can hurt their feelings more.


Supporters need to think about the following before providing support:


1)Provide support that matches their needs with consideration of what they want and what you can do to help instead of you foreseeing and guessing what they need.


2) Look into the person’s eyes when talking to them and speak slower than usual.  Do not show an attitude like, “I’ll do it for you,” or say “You poor person”.


3)When the bereaved cannot talk, don’t try to force them to do so. You can just say, “You have been through a difficult time.” It is important to try to understand the pain of the person.


4)When they start to talk about their disaster experiences or the person/people they have lost, listen sincerely with sympathy and interest. Do not change the subject in the middle of their story.


5)Provide accurate information to the subject that bereaved families want to know. If they ask you questions that you can’t answer, tell them you don’t have the answer. Unless the bereaved family ask, supporters should not talk about their experiences, beliefs, or religious faith.