Facilitators Guide – keeping my friends safe

As a Facilitator, your role is to try to nudge the team members toward the right direction.


What is NOT expected of group facilitator

-Diagnose each member with a mental disorder.

-Provide therapy and counselling.

-Find solutions to everyone’s problems.


What is the role of a group facilitator

– Create a caring and accepting community

– Encourage social-emotional support from the team for each other.

-Influence helpful mindset and behavior

– Encourage members to apply what has been learned to each others sharing.

-Lead person-in-need to proper help and support


3 Important points to note

  1. Respect the rights of the person including their personal views, prejudices, preferences, religion, orientation etc. Refrain from sharing your personal opinions and advice.
  2. Keep everything that has been shared confidentially, except in the situation of harm either to self or to others.
  3. Self-disclosure – Should always benefit the the person you are helping. Always consider consequences of your disclosure.
  4. Practice within your area of competence. Do not overstep into areas where you are not qualified to do so. Always get help or escalate more complex situations to a supervisor.

Some areas that you can support your friends in

  • Building them up – Identify opportunities and to live up to their potential
  • Prevent them from slipping down – Identify their blind spots
  • Encourage them to find the right people and channels to find solutions to their problems.

What supporting anther person can look like

What do you think Sam is doing wrong? Click on image to watch the video


This is not a real therapist and client session. The presentation here is a demonstration by Psychology graduates. 


What NOT to say when a friend is struggling 

-Criticize, blame them for what has happened.

-Talking too much, too rapidly, too loudly.

-Show hostility, impatience and negative emotions toward them.

-Assume you know how they feel or their situation.

-Make sarcastic remarks or joke about their condition.

-Belittle or say things that are condescending.


Where and when NOT to start a conversation

Click on image to watch the video

This is not a real therapist and client session. This presentation is a demonstration by Psychology graduates


Positive ways to show support

-Showing empathy

-Reflective listening

-Asking the right questions

-Leading the person to the right help


Click on image to watch the video

This is not a real therapist and client session. This presentation is a demonstration by Psychology graduates


Here’s more on the skill-sets of showing empathy and active listening

Click here to practice the skills that you have just observed.

Practice verbally 

–  Take note of visual ques and tone of voice.


Practice by texting.

– Remember that the lack of visual ques and tone of voice could cause you to misinterpret the person you are helping

– You will need to text shorter sentences and clarify more.



Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people between the age of 13 to 28 years in Singapore.

To prevent suicide, you need to believe that nobody really wants to end their life.


What are the causes of suicide

Many people who have lost someone to suicide often share that they were surprised as the loved one or friend did not share about having problems.

Here are some possible signs of a person with suicidal ideation. 

  • Sudden drastic change in behavior.(Could even be for the better, e.g suddenly very calm when the person has been emotionally volatile)
  • Talks about dying, have no purpose in life, wants to end the suffering.
  • Gives away prized possession or makes plans for the care of loved ones.
  • Loses interest in hobbies and preferred activities
  • Loses interest in personal appearance
  • Excludes himself/herself from future plans
  • Withdraws from social circle
  • Signs of self-harm.

Here’s how you can have a conversation with a friend that you suspect has suicidal thoughts.

Click on image to watch the video

This is not a real therapist and client session. This presentation is a demonstration by Psychology graduates


Your role as a facilitator is not to council or solve that person’s problems. If you can get the person to start talking about the suicidal thoughts it will help to assure that person that someone does care.

You can also use other skills that you have learnt in this session such as

-Showing empathy and listening to understand what that person is going through

-Ask direct questions about the suicidal ideation. Do not hint or hope that they person will disclose voluntarily.

– Lead the person to safety


Here are the 5 questions that is recommended by most International Suicide Prevention Organisations.

Here’s a video on suicide assessment approach

If a person answers ‘yes’ to any question, then you need to refer them to a mental heatlh professional.

If they answer ‘Yes’ to question 4, 5 or 6, call for emergency

SOS helpline

or call 995 and go to the A&E immediately. Stay with them until they are attended to.


Important to note:

-Do not promise to keep the suicide plans a secret. It’s better to risk losing a friendship then risk having your friend loose their life.

-You will need a trained professional to help in the situation of someone having suicidal thoughts.


Suicide prevention letter for a friend

If you are unable to keep a conversation going, you can try sending your friend this letter.


What else can you do:

  • You can also implore your friend to withhold any plans for the next 24 hours while waiting for help. Usually the negative emotions will dissipate after a while
  • Make plans to do something together that your friend enjoys.
  • Accompany that friend to find suitable help.

More information on what you can do here.

Choose life safety plan

While this plan that is usually put together by a trained professional together with a client, it will be beneficial to know the steps so that you can be better prepared.


Thank you for going through this session to keep your friend safe.

It’s been a heavy session and we should practice some self-care after every emotionally demanding session.


Emotional Decompression or Stress debriefing

  • Is an activity where you defuse heightened emotions to gain control and return to an inner calm.

There are many ways to do so.

  • Breathing and relaxation
  • Physical movement
  • Talk about how you feel and how the experience affected you.
  • Talk about something positive that you learnt from the experience.
  • Activate your emergency self-care plan.


What are you looking forward to in the coming week?

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