4.5.2 Strengthen social support

Strengthening social support is important to reduce the many of the harmful effects of stress (45).]

  1. The first step is to ask about support mechanisms that the patient has now or those that might have helped the patient in the past. Some example questions are:
    What comforts you when you are upset?
    Do you talk to anyone about your problems and what you are going through?
    Is there any person who you feel can give you support?
    Who do you feel most comfortable sharing your problems with?
    When you are not feeling well, who do you turn to for help or advice? 
    How is your relationship with your family?
    In what way do your family and friends support you and in what way do you feel stressed by them?
  2. Then identify people who could provide support, such as trusted family members, friends and community members, and talk about how each one can be involved in helping.
  3. If the patient is willing, he/she should be referred to other community resources for companion or material support. These include: social or protection services; community centres; self-help and support groups; employment and or other income-generating activities; formal/informal education; shelter, food and non-food items; child-friendly spaces. When making a referral, the patient should be helped to access them (e.g. provide directions to the location, operating hours, telephone number) and provide the patient with a short referral note.

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