As we go about our busy lives, it’s all too easy to lose track of our mental wellbeing from time to time. And while may be good at knowing when we need a break, it can be hard to do the same for a family member, friend, or colleague.
Maintaining good mental health and supporting others when they need help is the cornerstone of what we do every day. We recognise that it can be hard to know or ask for help when you need it. Which is why we encourage you to help someone take that next step this Thursday 12th September on R U OK? Day.
Recognise the signs
Everyone acts differently under stress or difficult times. If you know someone who you think may be struggling, keep a lookout for any of these signs:
- Unusual behaviour
- Mood swings or withdrawal
- Changes to their sleep or routines
- Loss of interest in things they enjoy
At the end of the day it’s important to trust your gut feelings. If the person isn’t acting themselves then there may be something else behind it.
Asking a question won’t harm anyone, and it could change a life. It could be something harmless, but if it’s not then you can support them to receive the help they need.
Ask R U Ok
You don’t need to be an expert or very familiar to someone to check in with them. Here’s how you can do it:
Before you ask, put the question to yourself: Am I in a good place right now? Am I able to listen and support someone? Make sure to help yourself before helping others.
Once you’re ready, ask the person during a private conversation in a relaxed manner. Use open questions to or specific examples to help them understand why you’re concerned.
It’s critical to hear them out and don’t rush the conversation. Avoid passing judgement on their actions and acknowledge that they’re going through a difficult time. Offer encouragement or simply space or silence if they need it.
The next step is to ask what they’ve done to tackle the issue and suggest ways to take the next step. This can be your own personal advice or recommendations for professional services. If they need immediate help, here’s where they can find it.
Finally, catch up with the person in a few weeks or days time to see how things are going. It’s important to stay in touch and let them know that you’re there to support them no matter what happens.