R U OK? Day is upon us, which for many people is a welcome reminder to check in with their family and friends and ask the important question: R U OK? This year, the organisation R U OK? is focusing on, Are they really OK? Ask Them Today. That question really resonates at a time like this when communication and interaction has changed so significantly. So, don’t wait until someone is visibly distressed or in crisis. Make a moment meaningful and ask them how they’re really going. Start a conversation with those in your life who may be struggling.
If this task seems a little daunting, that’s ok. You don't need to be an expert to reach out - just a good friend and a great listener. R U OK? has made this process easier with a list of tips that will guide you through and help you ask the question. By using these four steps, you can have a conversation that could change a life.
- ASK R U OK?
- Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach.
- Help them open up by asking questions like "How are you going?" or "What’s been happening?"
- Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like "You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?"
- If they don’t want to talk, don’t criticise them.
- Tell them you’re still concerned about changes in their behaviour and you care about them.
- Avoid a confrontation.
- You could say: “Please call me if you ever want to chat” or “Is there someone else you’d rather talk to?”
2. LISTEN WITH AN OPEN MIND
- Take what they say seriously and don't interrupt or rush the conversation.
- Don’t judge their experiences or reactions but acknowledge that things seem tough for them.
- If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence.
- Encourage them to explain: "How are you feeling about that?" or "How long have you felt that way?"
- Show that you've listened by repeating back what you’ve heard (in your own words) and ask if you have understood them properly.
3. ENCOURAGE ACTION
- Ask: “What have you done in the past to manage similar situations?”
- Ask: “How would you like me to support you?"
- Ask: “What’s something you can do for yourself right now? Something that’s enjoyable or relaxing?”
- You could say: "When I was going through a difficult time, I tried this... You might find it useful too."
- If they've been feeling really down for more than 2 weeks, encourage them to see a health professional. You could say, "It might be useful to link in with someone who can support you. I'm happy to assist you to find the right person to talk to.”
- Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.
IF THEY NEED EXPERT HELP
Some conversations are too big for family and friends to take on alone. If someone’s been really low for more than 2 weeks - or is at risk - please contact a professional as soon as you can.
4. CHECK IN
- Pop a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks. If they're really struggling, follow up with them sooner.
- You could say: "I've been thinking of you and wanted to know how you've been going since we last chatted."
- Ask if they've found a better way to manage the situation. If they haven't done anything, don't judge them. They might just need someone to listen to them for the moment.
- Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.
- By using these four steps you are supporting and furthering the R U OK? vision to live in a world where we are all connected and are protected from suicide.
At Beautifully Healthy, we are passionate about mental health and understand the importance of looking after yourself, inside and out. The world is an ever-changing dynamic which at times can be confusing, challenging and to some people quite stressful. As a part of our social responsibility commitment, we donate a percentage of profits to humanitarian/health causes. We have partnered with three important and valued charities that are each fighting to bring about a positive change in our world.
The Butterfly Foundation is a national charity for Australians impacted by eating disorders and body image issues, and for the families, friends and communities who support them.
Their mission is to bring about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and body image issues.
They operate a National Helpline that includes support over the phone, via email and online, reaching 20,000 people each year.
Butterfly is changing lives by providing innovative, evidence-based support services, treatment and resources, delivering prevention and early intervention programs and advocating for the needs of our community.
Orygen is a charitable organisation focused on providing specialist mental health services. They believe that all young people deserve to grow into adulthood with optimal mental health. Their goal is to see young people with mental ill-health getting well and staying well.
Their research is world-leading, impactful and creates change. Working directly with young people, their families and friends, Orygen pioneers new, positive approaches to the prevention and treatment of mental disorders.
The RizeUp mission is to drive awareness of domestic and family violence within society by generating life-changing, practical support for the families affected, giving them the hope and empowerment to move on to a life free from violence.
Rapid Response Program
RizeUp’s crisis program sources critical items required at a moment’s notice. Within this program, they also respond to other emergency needs such as the costs related to emergency relocation and so on.
RizeUp sets up and furnishes the homes sourced by specialist services to support clients moving on from domestic violence.
Youth Enrichment Support Solutions
RizeUp supports the family by providing items of clothing for children to start at their new school.
At Beautifully Healthy, on R U OK? Day, we want to make sure we are not forgetting to ask victims of eating disorders and body image issues, youths suffering from mental illness and victims of domestic and family violence if they are OK. Stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives.
If you wish to know more about these organisations or donate to their cause, visit their website.
R U OK? is not a crisis support or counselling service and their website is not a substitute for professional care. If you need professional support, please contact your doctor, local health centre or one of the services listed below. Family and friends can also call upon these services for advice and assistance on how to support someone who is struggling with life.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please seek assistance by contacting your trusted healthcare professional or calling Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others, seek immediate assistance by calling Triple Zero (000).
If you are experiencing body dissatisfaction, disordered eating or eating disorders, call the Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673), via webchat or email email@example.com | 7 days a week, 8am-midnight (AEST)
If you’re in a crisis call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in an emergency call 000.
If you wish to speak to someone immediately who can help call:
1800 55 1800
13 11 14
If you require support please contact a service in your local area who will make contact with RizeUp through established referral pathways. If you need help identifying your local support service please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)