If you’re a well-meaning colleague, family member, or friend, here are some things you can do to help your officer get through a OBM ordeal.
Be present. Many helpers become preoccupied with “doing something” for the distressed officer. But often, just letting him/her know you’re there and on his/her side — providing a quiet, comforting, supportive presence — is sometimes the best thing you can do for him/her.
Take your cue from the officer. Unless he/she is acting bizarrely, unsafely, or unhealthily, give the officer space if he/she wants it. Again, just knowing you’re there when he/she needs you will be a tremendous support. If the officer wants to talk, engage him/her in conversation, but let him/her do most of the talking. Of course, if you’re asked a question, answer it, but realize that this conversation is primarily for the officer’s benefit.
Offer advice ...to a point. In a non-preachy or lecturing way, offer the officer whatever you think will help. If you’re a colleague who’s weathered a similar SBC or other OIS experience, give the officer the benefit of your insights. If you’re a friend or relative, suggest ways the officer can take his/her mind off the ongoing problems and engage in a healthy, distracting activity. If you think the officer is not dealing with the aftermath successfully, gently suggest he/she get some professional help.