Today is a pretty important one for around Australia it’s R U OK?Day. This annual initiative aims to show us that a simple conversation can in fact change a life.
As we go about our day, no matter if we’re at school, work or at home, we may sometimes find ourselves questioning if a person we know is doing ok. You might notice them disengaged from a conversation… Maybe they’ve got tears in their eyes… Or perhaps they’re being really mean which is totally out of character for them.
Whenever you pick up on this what would you normally do? Would you check in with them to see how they are? Or do you step away because you’re not sure what to ask? If your gut instinct is telling you something is up then perhaps consider acting on it and reach out.
According to the awesome people behind R U Ok?Day, they suggest you start a conversation and comment on the changes you’ve noticed, as it can help the person to open up and if you find…
“…they say they are not okay, you can follow the conversation steps on the R U OK? website to show them they’re supported, and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are okay, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask.” – ruok.org.au
Though today is dedicated to reminding us all to ask this all important question, the reality is, we should be asking “Are you ok?” every day – whenever we find someone we know struggling with life’s ups and downs. This is what it means to be a good, kind and supportive friend, family member or colleague.
But before you decide to be bold and brave and check-in with the person, you should definitely ask yourself this question first: “How am I doing? Am I ok?”
If you feel in your heart you’re not in the right headspace to kickstart a conversation with the person, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you reaching out to your/their support network and asking someone you feel would be able to chat to them and step in on your behalf.
Upon reflection, if you decide you are in fact in the right headspace to reach out to this person, then why not follow R U OK?’s 4-step guide to help you change a life? It’s fantastic.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Ask – When you do, ensure you’re considerate, caring and concerned
- Listen – Don’t judge, don’t rush their responses and take them seriously
- Encourage action – Ask what they’ve been doing so far to help them get through it, and perhaps suggest they seek out a health professional who can provide further care and support
- Check in – Stay in touch with them and see how they’re tracking
We all go through stuff. I myself experienced a chronic and debilitating anxiety disorder for many years during my childhood. Though life got pretty tough at times, I could not thank my clinical psychologist, family and friends enough for their support. Simply having an open conversation at times made all the difference.
“R U OK?” – These 4 words can most certainly change a life.
PS. If you’re in need of extra support, you can always call the awesome people at Lifeline on 13 11 14 xx