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This article was submitted by Alicia Cassels, MA, OneOp Caregiving Team-Learning and Engagement Consultant.

No family is immune to experiencing a crisis.  Events like the birth of a child, the deployment of a spouse, the death of a loved one, or a change in the health status of a family member may require the need for difficult and serious decisions.  In times of great stress, we may be inclined to pull away from normal interaction patterns with friends, extended family and members of our social networks at times when accessing these informal resources and relationships may be most helpful.

Taking stock of our existing social support resources and planning how we would stay connected in times of stress may help combat the inclination to pull away and significantly reduce the risk of isolation from individuals and social networks during a crisis.

In OneOp Webinar Session, Challenges Facing Families in Crisis, Michelle Lewis, MSW shared a strategy that works well in helping adults and teen family members identify individuals in their networks who can serve as sources of support in times of crisis.  Ms. Lewis defines these individuals as RICH resources.  To help family members identify RICH resources, follow the steps below.

  1. Identify individuals in your life who fit all of the four characteristics below. These individuals may be members of your community, social networks, service providers, or extended family.
    • Respect-This individual demonstrates respect for you as a person.
    • Information-This individual serves as a reliable source of information.
    • Connection-This individual serves as a source of connection with family, resources or the community.
    • Hope-This individual serves as a source of hope for the future.
  1. Think about ways that you would maintain contact with your identified RICH resource individuals in times of stress. Regular telephone calls or short meetings will help maintain relationships even when circumstances related to a crisis make longer meetings impossible.

To learn more about how to help families reduce the potential for isolation in crisis, view Challenges Facing Families in Crisis and complete the post-session quiz to receive 1.0 continuing education credit from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).


Check out some of Military Caregiving’s recent blog posts!

 This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on December 16, 2016.