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Reach out for help

We all need help and support from others sometimes. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to know who to approach and what to ask. We might even avoid others or isolate when we need them most. We recommend using the DEAR MAN strategy developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP, to help you describe what you need and how to ask for it. As a first step, it’s good to have a list of potential helpers before you work through the DEAR MAN strategy.

On your own: Create your potential helper list

The 'DEAR MAN' strategy

  • D – Describe the situation.
  • E – Express how you feel about it.
  • A – Assert yourself by asking for what you want.
  • R – Reinforce (reward) the person by explaining the positive effects of getting what you want or need.
  • M – (Be) Mindful of your goals and stay on topic.
  • A – Act confident by communicating directly with a firm tone and good eye contact.
  • N – (Be willing to) Negotiate because sometimes we need to compromise to get what we need.

If the person you contacted can’t give you what you need, don’t give up. Try another person and see if you get a different result.

Downloadable resources to use on your own

Information Sheet

Ways to Create Order When Feeling Overwhelmed

Recovering from Trauma & Grief

How-to Guides

Asking for Help (DEAR MAN strategy)

Fillable Activities

Potential Helpers