R U Ok?

by (Clinical Psychologist)

The R U OK? Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ to support anyone struggling with life. It was founded by Gavin Larkin who wanted to create a world without suicide after experiencing the suicide death of his father, Barry Larkin.

The “R U OK?Day” is a national day of action on the 11th September, dedicated to reminding people to check in with family and friends. Regular, face-to-face conversations can help people feel valued and supported. Research links supportive social relationships and a sense of social connection with protective factors in suicide prevention. So reach out to someone you care about and ask them, ‘Are you ok?’

You don’t have to be an expert to support someone going through a tough time. You just need to be able to listen to their concerns without judgment and take the time to follow up with them. Here are some simple steps to start a conversation:

1. Ask R U OK?
  • Start a general conversation; preferably somewhere private
  • Break the ice with a joke
  • Build trust through good eye contact, open and relaxed body language

‘What’s been happening? How are you going?’
‘I’ve noticed that… What’s going on for you at the moment?’
‘You don’t seem like yourself and I’m wondering are you ok? Is there anything that’s contributing?’

2. Listen without judgement
  • Guide the conversation with caring questions and give them time to reply
  • Don’t rush to solve problems for them
  • Help them understand that solutions are available when they’re ready to start exploring these

‘How has that made you feel?’
‘How long have you felt this way?’
‘What do you think caused this reaction?’

3. Encourage action
  • Summarise the issues and ask them what they plan to do
  • Encourage them to take one step, such as see their local doctor

‘What do you think might help your situation?’
‘Have you considered making an appointment with your doctor?’
‘Would you like me to make an appointment or come with you?’

For more information please visit www.ruokday.com

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