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R U OK? Day

R U Ok? Day falls on Thursday 14 September this year. It’s a reminder to check in on the people around you, or bring up any concerns you have about someone’s wellbeing.

Since it began in 2009, the day has become a very popular chance for people to show they care about the wellbeing of others, and to start conversations they may otherwise be too nervous to broach.

If you’re feeling OK yourself, take the opportunity to check on others around you. Sometimes we can tell that people don’t seem to be their usual selves. But some people put on a “mask”, and seem to be doing fine. We never really know what’s going on in someone’s head.

Being sincere, patient, and prepared to listen if someone tells you they’re not OK is all that’s needed. Think of the number of times you’ve asked someone, “how are you?”. They probably said they were doing well. It’s rare that someone will take that question as a literal enquiry, rather than a simple greeting. And it’s even more rare for us to be genuinely curious when we ask it. It’s usually something we say without much thought. Just by changing the tone of your voice when you ask, maintaining eye contact, and stopping still when you ask them (rather than when you’re rushing past) can let people know you care about their answer.

Try the following conversation starters:

  1. You don’t seem like yourself lately. How are you going?
  2. I know you’ve had a lot on your plate lately, are you managing OK?
  3. What can I do to support you?
  4. You’ve cancelled a lot of our catch ups recently. Are you feeling alright?

You don’t have to “fix” their problems, or know how to deal with a crisis. By listening, showing you are curious and you care, and supporting them to access suitable supports, you can make a huge change in someone’s life. You may have been the only person that has ever really asked R U OK.






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