If you are concerned about a colleague or friend, or are concerned about your own well-being, here are the steps you can follow to provide support and get connected to those who can help.
Step 1: Get more information
(Understand the situation better).
- KNOW WHAT’S NORMAL: Check to see if those signs fall under the normal response to crisis. Situations like the COVID-19 Crisis…
- ASK: Use this check-in guide to ask questions about behavioral, emotional, mental, and spiritual changes that are troubling to you.
- LISTEN: Practice good listening skills, with compassion and without judgment.
- CHECK IN REGULARLY: Offer mutual support/encouragement and remind them of online resources
- Are they mostly managing but clearly struggling?
- Yes, Go to Step 2
- Are they overwhelmed and not coping?
- Not sure, Go to Step 3.
- Yes, Go to Step 4
Step 2. Connect them to Staff Care.
Mutual Care (YOU!):
- Encourage them to reach out to friends and family.
- Set a time to check back to see how they’re doing (a few days to a week) and whether they have reached out to others.
Care and Wellbeing Services (Area and Unit)
- Check out the How to Help Guide: Staff Care for ideas on building resilience
- Encourage them to contact a staff care facilitator or ask permission to initiate contact on their behalf (see contact info below).
- Encourage them to connect with a life coach to help create goals moving forward.
- Encourage them to contact Spiritual Life Services.
- If they have not reached out and their condition has not improved, go to step 3.
Staff Care Resources/Personnel
- Your Sending Organisation or Church Networks: When you are living (even if not assigned) in your home country, your sending organization or church may have more readily available resources for providing this type of support.
- Mission support networks (Missio Nexus, Global Connections., etc.)
- Staff Care Resources (Other counseling centers, support centers and global resources)
SIL Unit Staff Care
Talk to your Unit’s Staff Care Facilitator, HR Leader or Supervisor. Many Area’s have Life Coaches, Spiritual Directors, Career Coaches, and other resources that are available to you (not just now but always). If you aren’t sure what your area has, contact the Staff Care coordinator below.
SIL Area Staff Care
- Eurasia: James Covey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Francophone Africa: Gunborg Presson email@example.com
- Anglo-Lusophone Africa: Carol McKee firstname.lastname@example.org
- Americas: Lyn Shingledecker-Wheeler email@example.com
- Mainland Asia and South & Islands Asia: Kimberly Ross firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pacific: Sharon Vanderduys email@example.com
- International: Kristi Sparkman firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Care and Wellbeing Department
- Strategic Leader of Staff Care: email@example.com
- Staff Care Data Coordinator: Basia Stroo
- Director: Rhiannon Gibson
Step 3. Reassess the situation.
TIP: Look for distress that is beyond the individual’s capacity to manage
- Ask questions about how they are doing and continue to listen.
- Review the following signs to see whether they need specialized care. If yes, go to Step 4 otherwise go back to Step 2
Signs they need more Mental Health Help
- Significant, enduring change in sleep patterns (e.g. not sleeping or sleeping too much).
- Reversion to or use of addictive behaviors (e.g. alcohol, pornography, etc.).
- Unable to make oneself do things that would normally bring enjoyment.
- If anxiety is continuing to keep you (or them) from working at all or is impairing normal life functioning.
- The current crisis is bringing up painful or difficult past experiences making coping more difficult.
- Experiencing despair or hopelessness.
- If you or someone you live with has uncontrollable anger.
- Panic attacks (common symptoms: rapid, pounding heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath, sweating, sense of impending danger, fear of loss of control, feeling faint, numbness or tingling).
- Hyper-vigilance or can’t calm down physically or mentally.
- Elevated heart rate, blood pressure or breathing rate for extended time
- Shutting out all connection with others or significantly withdrawing.
- Overwhelmed to the point of not being able to sleep, think clearly, or make decisions.
- Difficulty concentrating or staying on task and nothing helps (even adequate rest and self-care)
- Feeling worthless and hopeless about work, faith, and the future
Step 4. Refer to a Mental Health Professional
Mental Health Professionals in your area
You may have access to counseling resources in your area. Check first to see what in-person or local (virtual) options are available.
Counseling Centers that specialize in supporting cross cultural workers.
- Thailand : The Well and Cornerstone
- Turkey: The Olive Tree
- Kenya: Tumaini Counseling Centre
- Spain: Sent Well
- USA: – Alongside, Link Care,
- UK: Thrive Worldwide, Headington Institute
- Compass Ministries
- Godspeed Resources
Staff Care Resources (Other counseling centers, support centers and global resources)
If a member is in need of short-term mental or emotional support during this crisis, counseling services are available as we have capacity. This may be for 2-3 sessions for help in coping with the effects of the crisis or for debriefing those who carry the load of caring for others. If longer-term counseling is needed appropriate referrals will be made.
In Areas where there is an SIL Counseling Coordinator, please send requests to that address. See below.
- Eurasia: James_Covey@sil.org
- Francophone and Anglo-Lusophone Africa: Karen_Degraaf@sil.org
- Americas: Carole_Posthuma@sil.org or Lynn_Strom@wycliffe.org
- Mainland Asia: Mark_Ventrella@sil.org
In Areas without an SIL Counseling Coordinator: (South Asia, Islands Asia, Pacific, and International), contact
- Wycliffe US members may contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Non-Wycliffe US members may contact email@example.com.