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How to ask for help

When you’re overwhelmed (especially in the wake/midst of crisis) it can be really hard to ask for help, even when people have offered.

Black person with head on arms, looking overwhelmed Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

People often say ‘let me know if I can help’ and it can be difficult for you to take advantage of that because you lack the capacity to identify what would help. Feeling like you’re asking too much or not being specific enough can stop people reaching out when they most need to.

So, here are a few things that might be beneficial for you to say:

  • Thanks for offering to help. I'm so overwhelmed right now I can't even think what I need help with.


  • Did you have something specific in mind?


  • This is a particular problem (deciding on something, researching an issue, practical things) - how can you help?


  • I'm struggling with the everyday chores like cooking, cleaning and laundry. Could you help with one task?


  • Can I give you the names of other people who have offered to help and see what you can all come up with?


  • I really need.....

- [ ] a meal cooked for me.

- [ ] a space to cry.

- [ ] time to vent.

- [ ] a fun distraction.

- [ ] reassurance.

What ever specific thing that has popped into your head as you read this.

If you're overwhelmed and you need help, share this with someone who has offered to help.

You don't have to have it all figured out to reach out.

(And if you know someone in crisis and overwhelm, perhaps send them a list of things you’re happy to help with and allow them to pick or just go and drop off a meal.)

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