Today marks a very important day in our calendar – R U OK?Day. It’s a day for us all to remember that a simple conversation could change a life. A day of action dedicated to reminding everyone to ask, “Are you OK?” and to remember, every day of the year, to support people who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs.
The incredible team behind R U OK?Day are on a mission to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life, encouraging everyone to Trust the Signs, Trust your Gut & Ask R U OK?
“Got a niggling feeling that someone you know or care about isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it.
By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up. If 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
At kikki.K, we truly believe human connection and taking the time to check in with each other is vital to living a happy and healthy life, and today we want to encourage everyone to be aware of how those around them are feeling, and ask the simple question, R U OK?
To help you to start these important conversations, we’ve created some gorgeous conversation starters for you to download and print out. Remember, you don’t need to be an expert to reach out – just a good friend and a great listener.
To help you decide whether you’re ready to start a meaningful conversation, R U OK? have put together a helpful guide.
BEFORE YOU ASK IF SOMEONE ELSE IS OKAY
Before you can look out for others, you need to look out for yourself. And that’s ok. If you’re not in the right headspace or you don’t think you’re the right person to have the conversation, try to think of someone else in their support network who could talk to them.
If you feel you’re ready to open up a conversation and give someone the opportunity and time to share how they’re feeling, the team at R U OK? suggest using these four steps below:
FOUR SIMPLE STEPS THAT CAN CHANGE A LIFE
1 | 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?”
2 | LISTEN
• 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.
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.
SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER
• If the person doesn’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 confrontation.
• You could say: “Please call me if you ever want to chat” or “Is there someone else you’d rather talk to?”
Some conversations are too big for family and friends to take on alone. If you’re worried about someone, or you, yourself, feel you are in need of urgent professional support, contact your local doctor or the agencies listed on the R U OK? website.
Remember, there’s nothing like the warmth we get from human connection, so today and every day, take the time to check in with each other – after all, a simple conversation could change a life.