The guys over at GenToGenYM.com had a great post today about how to help a kid in crisis. I’ll put some of the bullet points below. However, I highly recommend going over there to read what they have to say.
I let them know I care and that I’m glad that they have trust in me to come to me with a problem. I let my guys know that if they have a serious issue that is troubling them, they can text or call me 24/7. I’ve yet to have any students abuse this, or call me at three in the morning about a trivial problem that could have waited until morning.
Let them know they’re not alone. This is usually one of my first steps. Students need to hear that the issue they’re going through isn’t unique to them. Most of the time they won’t arrive here on their own, so they need your voice to tell them. This will start to put them a little more at ease.
Get details. Oftentimes you won’t get the full story in the initial conversation, phone call or text. Once you get a feel for what’s happening, get some details. Find out everything you need to know to fully assess the situation. Once you know details, it will make the advice-giving step much easier and more accurate to the student’s situation.
Offer advice. If the situation is something you have some experience with, give them some pearls of wisdom. If you’ve been through the situation yourself, it might be appropriate to tell that to your student and say what you did to overcome it. If you don’t have any idea what to tell them, either point them in the direction of someone who will have good advice, or seek it out yourself and get back with the student later. If you need to choose the second option, don’t wait too long to get back to them.
Pray with them. If it’s a conversation you’re having either on the phone or in person, don’t miss an opportunity to pray with the student before they leave. This can be super powerful and bonding for you as their leader, and it obviously acknowledges God in asking for his help.