Today is ‘R U OK? Day’ – a day that focuses on suicide prevention by encouraging people to engage in meaningful conversations with people around them.
This national campaign is also an opportunity to spread awareness and educate Australian communities on the importance of asking questions, listening, encouraging action, and checking in with individuals.
It is fundamental to check in with your family, friends, colleagues, or anyone you know and ask how they are going. As human beings, we experience life’s ups and downs, big or small, throughout our lives, and sometimes that simple question “are you OK?” or “what is on your mind” can change someone’s life.
Asking the question can feel tricky, or perhaps you don’t know when to check in with someone! There is no ‘right’ time or ‘right’ question, as long as you ask the question constructively and courteously and respect the person’s answer if they do not wish to talk at that time.
If someone has told you they are going through a tough time, the best thing you can do is be an attentive listener, ask helpful questions and offer your support. Remember to let the person know they are talking in a ‘safe space’ and ask if they considered talking to a mental health professional.
You can direct people to many beneficial resources if they need support or perhaps would like to join a personalised program that assists with mental health.
R U OK? day is a gentle reminder to show someone you care and that you are there to support them. As a community, it is essential to make the time today and every day to share educational resources, spread awareness and check in with your social bubble or anyone you notice whose having an ‘off’ day.
It is always helpful to remember the power of asking someone if they are OK and how the smallest gesture can truly impact someone’s life for the better.