“Can I Help?” Ensign, June 1995, 71–72
Do you know friends or family members who are under extreme stress, such as coping with the death or serious illness of a loved one? Following are some suggestions of how you can give them support as they cope with their challenges.
Listen. Encourage them to express their feelings. Reassure them that it is all right to cry and that it is normal to feel upset, confused, and frightened.
Get family members involved. Encourage them to pray with their family and work with them to solve the problem.
Do not judge. Phrases like “if only you had …” or “I told you this would happen if …” only make them feel guilty. Help them see that they are not to blame for events outside their control and that they are not being punished. If they are responsible for their problem, encourage them to put the past behind them by repenting. Repentance will allow them to forgive themselves.
Encourage them to continue their daily tasks or give them a meaningful assignment to complete. They may feel bewildered and helpless. If they can do something useful, they will feel more capable of controlling the problem.
Spend time together. Show your friends or family members that you care by being available. Pray with them and for them.
Help them gain a spiritual perspective. Help them see the purpose of trials and suffering in life. Try to give them a sense of hope.
Use Church resources. The Church provides spiritual and emotional support from priesthood and Relief Society leaders, temporal assistance through the ward welfare services committee, and support from home teachers and visiting teachers who have a good relationship with the individual or the family.
Be careful not to neglect those whose problems continue after the initial flurry of support. A new widow or widower may need as much attention six months after his or her spouse’s funeral as was needed immediately following the death.—Church Welfare Services Department