We need to be more careful and sensitive when dealing with and communicating with our relatives and acquaintances who are directly/indirectly affected by the disaster.
We may not know how to behave at such moments.
We hope the following will help you:
• First of all, make sure that the basic needs of the person such as nutrition, sleep and shelter are met. You can ask if they have a need, what you can do for them.
• When he/she wants to talk about his experiences and feelings, you can listen without interrupting his/her speech and without trying to console him/her.
• You can help him/her share his/her memories and feelings about the people who passed away, if any.
• You can ensure that they get the help they need according to their beliefs (reading the Qur'an, contacting a religious official, etc.)
• You can express your sensitivity to the situation by expressing your own feelings in a plain language with sentences such as “I am very sorry for what happened to you, I hope I can make the right sentences” “Of course I cannot understand what you are going through as much as you do”.
• “I can stay with you if you want”, “Would you like a hug?” You can provide support with expressions such as, you can open up space for them to experience their feelings.
• Don't feel obligated to talk to be there and provide support. Sometimes standing next to he/she quietly and listening can be very valuable at such moments.
• Everyone's reactions to traumatic events may be different. Avoid general judgments by considering these differences (e.g. 'you'll get worse if you don't cry' or 'don't cry a lot').
• Avoid doing these:
• Do not force them to tell what they have experienced, do not ask questions persistently.
• Don't talk about bad experiences you've had yourself and don't make comparisons like “there are worse than you”.
• Do not give advice.
• Do not make comments on issues that may cause hopelessness and anger in people (eg, neglect of disaster, wrong intervention, etc.). If the person is expressing their feelings and commenting on these issues, do not interfere or get into the discussion.
• Don't make promises you can't keep.
• Do not use consolation phrases such as “At least you are alive”, “it will pass with time”, “Take care of yourself”, “Everything happens for a reason”.
• Do not make comments such as “At least he/she didn't suffer much”, “You don't die with the deceased” about those who passed away
• Do not prevent them from expressing their feelings with words such as “Men don't cry”, “You must be strong for your children/family”, “Calm down”, “Don't cry anymore”.
• Avoid accusatory and disheartening statements such as “this is a punishment that happened to us”, “it happened because of what people did”.