R U OK Day is coming up on Thurs September 9th, and while many of us might like the idea of participating, it can be hard to know how best to do so.
We normally want to help those around us, but just don’t know how. Most Australians have claimed that if they knew how to approach troubled people, they would do it; so there’s definitely a clear gap in education here. By working together to share tips on open communication and empathy, we can nurture stronger and more positive environments that can enable those suffering to get the help they need. The RUOK conversation is an important one, but that doesn’t mean it has to be obscure or difficult to get right.
Try these steps next time you’re ready to have the RUOK conversation with someone;
1. Firstly consider if you yourself have the mental capacity to help another person right now.
2. Choose a private and soothing place to talk where you can share your concern.
3. Practice reflective listening and don’t forget to be kind, supportive and empathetic.
4. Encourage them to seek professional assessment, but if they’re not ready to ask for help yet, respect their decision and wait until they are ready.
5. Remember to periodically check in on them. Mental illness is a marathon and not a short sprint.
If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help.
beyondblue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) — online help.
Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467.