The first and foremost information I would gather is to make sure the woman is safe from any harm, including self-inflicted harm as well as anyone that might be with her. Upon making sure she was safe, I would start probing for details as to why he took his life. Did she walk in on his suicide or was she there when it happened? More information to gather would be how he committed suicide, was there a gun or a knife or perhaps poison or sleeping pills.
Once this information is gathered, I would start asking how their marriage was and how long they have been married, if they had problems, was he suffering from mental illness? Do they have children and if so, how old are they? Are we able to reach them to inform them to what has happened? A few other questions would be concerning their roles in the relationship, if they both had careers or was he the sole provider or was she? After this I would make sure she would be ok and if there might be any other crisis she may be facing in addition to her husband’s death? Lastly, I would want to know if she herself is suffering from mental illness and if so, is she being treated for it.
Once I have been giving all of the information that I need, I will sit down with this woman and assure her that I am her to help her in any and all ways that I can. In the beginning, she will more than likely be very distraught from this crisis and will take some time for her to be receptive. She may need to be cared for at a medical clinic first, maybe medicated in order to help her gain composure and come to terms as to what has happened. When she is ready to talk and accept the help she will need, I will start with the six step model approach.
With the six steps, the first step I will begin with is defining the problem. I must figure out what has brought this crisis in her life to surface. We must determine as to why her husband decided to end his life abruptly. The second step is to ensure her safety. Safety is a top priority for this woman, without her safety, then there could be another crisis involved and may effect different people.
In addition, if she is not safe or doesn’t feel safe, then this could make for a very difficult healing process. Also, ensure there is a safe place for her to stay, free of drama and crisis as well as any type of weapons that could potentially put her in harm’s way. Moving on to the third step is to provide support for her. In such a tragic crisis, she needs not to feel alone and that there are people who love and want to see her through this crisis. One of the first things I would seek to do is to give her children a call and let them know their help would be needed greatly, provided they are in the right state of mind as well. This will show that this is a family matter and in such a tragic situation, family comes together to help and support one another.
Another helpful tactic is to make sure she is not living in her home until the investigation concludes. While police and forensic teams are gathering evidence in her home, this will only keep her emotionally distraught and impossible to heal. The important thing here is to be able to return her mental health prior to this crisis.
Next is step four, examine alternatives. This step is to lessen the burden and stress of the crisis and to be able to return to life as normal as possible. By seeking alternatives, this lessens the chance that she could possibly take her own life due to the circumstances. Upon completion of step four, we move to step 5, develop a plan having the client use coping skills, while I, the crisis worker, use my expertise to take action. In step 5, I want the client, unless too distraught, formulate her own coping skill. Once we are able to get her to do this, then we can develop a plan so that she is able to deal with this crisis in the most positive way possible.
The last step, step six, is to obtain a