Real struggles are experienced by real people, every day, and although Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK Day are behind us for another year, we need keep having meaningful conversations in our workplaces and wider communities.
We’ve compiled a few ways we can keep up the good work all year round:
– Make time to catch up with mates in person.
– Keep an eye out for others and voice your concerns if you notice a change.
– Practice being a good listener in conversations by making eye contact, having open body language, and acknowledging how others feel without judgement.
– Let your colleagues, friends, and family know that you are there for them and that they can be honest with you.
– Continue to make your conversations count by going deeper and asking R U OK?
– Ask another question like, ‘What’s going on for you?’ or ‘How can I help?’
– If the person doesn’t want to talk, let them know you’re always available to listen. You could send them a text or email reiterating your support a while later.
– Be ready if someone isn’t okay. Listen and be curious, without trying to fix their problem. Validate their concerns and encourage them to seek help.
– Put in extra effort during times you know could be difficult for friends who have lost someone (Anniversaries, Birthdays, Christmas).
– Follow up with those who aren’t okay – ‘How have you been since we last spoke?’ Offer to help connect them to support like a GP or other professionals.
– Keep your workplace comfortable for talking about mental health and suicide by supporting those who share with you and starting the conversation.
– Most importantly – look after yourself!
The ultimate message of R U OK Day is one that applies 365 days of the year. It doesn’t have to be a crisis to ask someone you care about if they’re okay – in fact, the earlier we talk about our challenges, the better! Checking in with those around us on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis is something we should all strive for.
Need to talk to someone? Help is available at anytime by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78, or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.