You can make a difference to someone who’s struggling by having regular, meaningful conversations about life up’s and down’s.
If you feel like something’s up with someone you know – there’s something going on in their life or you notice a change in what they’re saying or doing – trust your gut instinct and take the time to ask them ‘Are you OK?’
You don’t have to be an expert to have a caring, meaningful conversation.
Follow R U OK’s four conversation steps:
1. Ask R U OK?
- Pick the right time to start the conversation
- Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?”
- Take what they have to say seriously and don’t interrupt or rush the conversation.
- Encourage them to explain: “How are you feeling about that” or “How long have you felt that way?”
- Show that you’re listening by repeating back what you’ve heard (in your own words) and ask if you understood them properly.
3. Encourage Action
- Help them think of next steps they could take to help them manage their situation.
- If they’ve been down for more than 2 weeks encourage them to see a health professional.
- Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.
4. Check in
- Schedule a reminder to call them in a couple of weeks. If they’re really struggling, check in with them sooner.
- Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference!
You can also find more conversation tips on the R U OK website.
If somebody’s not OK, there is support available to help.