October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Prior to becoming a therapist, I wasn’t sure how to help a friend, colleague, or family member who may be in a domestic violence situation. I noticed maybe their partner making disparaging comments about them in public, they seemed worried that they would upset their partner, they became more isolated, or they had unexplained marks or injuries. I saw that their mood or anxiety was different. But what could I do about it, how do you ask your friend or colleague, “Are you okay, is someone hurting you?”
Well, you pretty much do that. You ask them if they are okay and if they want to talk. Offer them support, compassion, and no judgement. There are some great suggestions at the Ohio Domestic Violence Network at http://www.odvn.org/. You do not need to solve the problem or save them, as their support you are there to listen and help them find assistance and hope. We have local resources and shelters to help as well such as Choices for Victims of Domestic Violence.
Additionally, counseling can be helpful. You can share with your colleague or family member, about their Employee Assistance Program benefit (five complimentary counseling sessions per year/per issue) and have them call 1-800-678-6265 or submit a counseling request using the new HELP button.