Do you know someone who is going through a challenging time? Have you noticed differences in their behavior, attitude or appearance, or a difference in the condition of their farm or animals? Do you struggle with how to speak with them? How do you begin? What do you say?

Start Simple – “How are you?” or “How are things at the farm?” are basic questions to ask to begin a conversation. From there, you can continue the conversation by asking questions specific to what the person is saying.

Try to Actively Listen and Respond Accordingly – Listen and pay attention to what the person is saying. Give your full attention to the person to assure them that what they are saying is important and that you are genuinely concerned for their wellbeing. Be patient, give the person time to gather their thoughts, and provide gentle encouragement to reveal additional feelings.

Offer to Help - Acknowledge that the person is dealing with a lot and ask what you can do to help or support them. Your goal as a support person is to direct the person towards appropriate resources. You may not be equipped with the skillset necessary to help, but you can be a point of contact to help them see that they need further guidance.