Life throws at us many challenges, and sometimes they may be more than we can bear. We may feel as though we are sinking, alone, facing a mountain of incredible weight, says Georges Chahwan. And to make matters worse, people don’t always know how to help us when we’re going through something tragic or traumatic. Here are some things you can do to support your friend or loved one who is going through a hard time.

Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do for someone who is hurting is just being with them. This person needs a shoulder they can cry on, an ear that will listen, and arms that will give them a hug –just your presence in their time of need lets them know that they are not alone or abandoned.

Hearing that you believe them is often a small step towards feeling believed, adds Georges Chahwan. They need to know that they are being taken seriously and that their feelings are real even if the world around them seems surreal. Sometimes your friend or loved one may seem perfectly fine, but it’s important to get inside their head and listen to what they have been experiencing from their perspective. When someone we love is hurting, we want to find ways to take away their pain—but sometimes this just isn’t possible. Our job isn’t always to solve the problem; rather, we can assist in navigating through it.