The Most Effective Thing You Can Do to Help a Friend Going Through a Hard Time
The biggest factor in recovery is social support
Knowing the right way to help a friend or family member going through a difficult time, whether because they’ve lost a loved one or are suffering from depression, can be uniquely challenging. We all struggle to find that sweet spot between saying too much and too little, but the research confirms, unequivocally, reaching out is critical.
Looking at a nationally representative sample of 635 Canadians suffering from suicidal thoughts and chronic pain, researchers at the University of Toronto found that the biggest factor in recovery was social support. Those with a confidante, defined as someone able to provide “emotional security and well-being,” had an 87 percent chance of going into remission from their suicidal thoughts, said lead author of the study Esme Fuller-Thomson, Ph.D., the chair of the university’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Here’s what to keep in mind when expressing your love and concern:
Check in with no strings attached
Two studies demonstrate that the most powerful and effective way to communicate your support is a simple check-in whether via text, postcard, or telephone call.
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