At IGA, we’re all about caring for and supporting our local communities. Not only is the physical health of the people within our communities and network important, we want to encourage our local communities to look out for each other and raise awareness about the importance of taking the time to ask, ‘are you OK?’.
R U OK? Day is just around the corner, a day of national action and a reminder that every day can be a day to check in with your friends, family and colleagues. This year, R U OK? Day is on the 8th of September and should remind us all that we already have what it takes to support those we care for.
How to start the conversation
Whether it’s your neighbour, someone you know locally, or someone close to you, asking, ‘are you OK?’ is one of the simplest things you can do to support the people you care about through life’s ups and downs. You don’t need to be an expert to reach out, research shows that listening and giving someone your time might be just what they need to help them through.
If you’re concerned about someone close to you, here are four steps to help you have a conversation that could change a life:
- Ask R U OK? – It helps to be friendly, relaxed and authentic. Help the person start talking by asking a question like “What’s been happening lately?” or mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?”
- Listen with an open mind – Listen to what the other person is saying and acknowledge what they have said when the time is right. Explain you’ve understood them and reassure them you’re always there to listen, whenever they want to talk.
- Encourage action – Ask them what they have done in the past to help them in this situation. Ask: “What’s something you can do for yourself right now? Something that’s enjoyable or relaxing?” If they’ve been feeling really down for more than two weeks, encourage them to see a health professional. Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.
- Check in – Remind yourself to check in with the person again in a couple of weeks or sooner if you are concerned. Stay in touch with them and remind them that you’re there for them. Them knowing this can make a huge difference.
Remember, no qualifications are needed to ask R U OK? and your conversation could change a life. Visit ruok.org.au for more advice, support and resources to help you have an R U OK? conversation.