Supporting a colleague

who is struggling


What can I do to help a colleague who is struggling?

  • Find a suitable time and space to check in with the person. This is likely to be a quiet and private place which is also free from distractions. In a supportive and non-confrontational way, ask the person how they are. Listen more than talk. Try to avoid interrupting with stories of your own, jumping in with solutions or minimising the person’s problems. Be understanding of the person’s unique circumstances and set aside your judgments about the person or their situation.
  • Offer support and information. Support can be emotional support and/or practical support. Ask if they are ready to consider help and provide them with information on services such as the Solicitor Outreach Service (for NSW solicitors), Lifeline, Beyond Blue and/or encourage them to see their GP. The Law Society has further information on how and where to access help here and here.
  • Despite your best efforts, understand that the person may not want to talk with you right now and may not be ready to access help.
  • Check-in with the person in a few days’ time and see how they are doing.
  • In an emergency, for example, if you hold fears that the person may harm themselves or someone else, call 000 immediately.

See these resources to continue building knowledge in this area:

Miriam Wyzenbeek is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, and the Law Society of NSW’s Wellbeing Manager.

First published Thursday 12 November 2020