R U OK?
September 10th marks R U OK Day, and though you should be asking your friends and family how they are every day, today is a national day of awareness. In a year that has brought a magnitude of challenges, it is important that we can have healthy discussions about mental health, so that people in our community who may be suffering, know they have support. You do not need to suffer in silence.
There are many topics that are hard to talk about, and depression and suicide are some of these. But just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean we shy away from them; gymnasts are known for tackling them head on.
We need to get real about mental health and have healthy discussions about it, so that people in our community who may be suffering know they have support and should not and are not suffering in silence. As a community, we share each other’s burdens and we help our friends even if they don’t ask for it.
So, the R U OK organisation provides a 4-step process on how to go about generating good communication.
If you never ask, you never know. Just because people don’t talk about them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist! So take the time out of your day to ask the people around you, ‘are you okay?’
It’s one thing to start a conversation, and another thing for it to be worthwhile. Make sure you’re attentive to other people and treat others how you’d like to be treated yourself. Open your eyes and your ears to the world around you!
3. Encourage action
If you hear things that worry you, encourage that person to talk to someone more qualified. People who are suffering are reluctant to talk to authority figures like parents and coaches, so until they are comfortable enough to do so, let them know that there are anonymous hotlines and other sources of help online.
4. Check in
Make sure you check in every once in a while to ensure the person knows you are truly there for them. Have they taken action? Always create a dialogue, and keep communication open and honest.
Like all things, you need to stop and ask yourself if you are safe and if you are ready for meaningful conversations that can be quite difficult.
Make sure you and the people around you are safe and happy, be a friend and ask “R U OK?”