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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

 Architectural details of the sandstone arcades in the Main Quadrangle of Stanford University. Credit:


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What strategies can I use when I need to intervene in a situation?

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Direct, Distract, Delegate

  • Direct: Direct responses are exactly as they sound. It can be anything from asking a person to leave the party to checking in with a person to see if they are okay. Direct responses mean that you directly handle the situation.
  • Distract: Distract means you work to distract the person from engaging in whatever the high risk behavior is. For example, if someone is very intoxicated and is trying to get another drink, you might ask them to go get water with you or ask them to come with you to take a selfie. This is easiest if you know the person. There are some situations where distract is not an option e.g. emergency situations. You can’t distract someone from alcohol poisoning.
  • Delegate: Delegate means you may not be the best suited person to intervene for the situation but you know who is. An example might be that you are the door person and can’t leave your post so you delegate to a mingler. Another example might be that you don’t know the person too well but you see their friend close by and you ask them to intervene because it will go over better. Technically calling 911 is delegating to a medical professional because you know you don’t have the medical expertise to determine if this person needs to go to the hospital or not. Delegate is a great option, just make sure the person you delegate to follows through.
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For Further strategies and scenarios, learn more here.