09 Sep
How to ask R U OK?

How to ask R U OK?

From our last article we talked about the signs you should look out for if you think your coworker or someone you know is not OK. 

Sometimes even with these symptoms it’s not clear if that person is struggling with something. The best thing you can do is trust your gut feeling.

If you know this person and feel that something isn’t right, you should act on it. It’s better to ask than not ask. 

If you’ve decided to go ahead and speak to someone, the following steps will help you get ready.

Things to do before you ask

Check in with yourself first 

Are you OK? Are you ready to listen and support someone? Before you can support others, you need to support and take care of your own wellbeing.  

Prepare to listen and support them 

Get ready to listen without judgement and prepare for any emotions or negative responses you might receive. Try not to take it personally: sometimes people don’t recognise they need help and may be resistant.

Pick a time and place that is private, safe, and comfortable for them 

If this can’t be achieved at work, try inviting them out for a coffee catch up or outing.

How to ask 

1. Ask: Remain calm, relaxed, and let them know you’re concerned 

2. Listen: Be patient and encourage them to speak freely 

3. Encourage action: Suggest options or refer them to support services, like a workplace EAP system 

4. Check in: Ask how they’re going in a few days or weeks and show encouragement 

Read the Workplace Guide for more helpful information on this topic. 

Our final article covers what happens when you get an emotional or difficult response, and what support you can provide them. 

If you’re in a bad place and need someone to talk to, call the Lifeline service at 13 11 14.