Here at TripSit we encounter people at various stages of different mental health crises on occasion. For those who are interested, here are some techniques and tips on how to properly speak to someone undergoing a crisis.
First: Keep the outline of how a conversation should progress when someone is undergoing a crisis. There are several stages to a conversation that ideally flow in this presented order: We begin by building rapport, introducing ourselves and explaining what it is we are attempting to do whether thats being there to be a listening ear or to properly counsel the person (depends on context). After that we will attempt to identify the problem and /explore/. We want to find out as much background information we can about the person's issue. Next is to try to identify what it is the person is wanting to achieve. By reaching out they very likely have some ideal outcome they are hoping to achieve, try to see what it is that will help them. After you have identified their goal, help them to arrive at a plan/problem solve. It is important that you do not suggest your own ideas directly, but rather help them come to their own conclusions. After that try to end the conversation warmly, without making it seem like they can come back any time. You do not want them to become dependent on you for pseudo-therapy.
When speaking to someone in a crisis there are 4 types of techniques that will aide in the conversation. These are empowering statements, validations, reflections, and explorations. It is important to use a variety and find what works for you!
Empowering statements: These are statements that empower the person undergoing a crisis. Tell them things like " I think you're strong being able to talk about this" "It takes a lot of courage to face the things you have to on a daily basis"
Validations: These statements let the person know their feelings are okay. "Its normal to feel crushed and in despair after such a tragic loss" "Nobody deserves to be bullied, its normal for someone to feel as if they dont belong after something so isolating and cruel."
Reflections: These are statements that let the other person know you are /really/ listening to what they say. "It sounds to me like you're going through a lot of stress because your mom is abusive to you at home" "I'm hearing that you feel you dont have any place to go to"
Explorations: These are basic open questions that allow you to learn as much as you can from the other person while asking as little as possible.