R U OK? A conversation could change a life
Seeing someone who’s struggling isn’t always obvious, right now and always. Chances are that 1 in 3 of your teammates, friends and family members need to talk to someone. One caring conversation with you could change their life. Make sure you reach out this R U OK day (September 10th).
Firstly, look for the signs. Have you noticed changes in:
What a teammate is saying?
Are they confused? Irrational? Worried they are a burden?
What they are doing?
Withdrawing? Mood swings? Routine changes?
What is going on in their life?
Relationships issues? Financial worries? Loss of someone close to them?
If you notice any of these changes, start a conversation using these 4 steps:
- Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach.
- Help them open up by asking questions like "How are you going?" or "What’s been happening?"
- Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like "You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?"
- Take what they say seriously and don't interrupt or rush the conversation.
- If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence.
- Show that you've listened by repeating back what you’ve heard (in your own words) and ask if you have understood them properly.
- Ask: “How would you like me to support you?"
- Ask “What’s something you can do for yourself right now? Something that’s enjoyable or relaxing?”
- Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.
- Pop a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks. If they're really struggling, follow up with them sooner.
- You could say: "I've been thinking of you and wanted to know how you've been going since we last chatted."
- Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.
Here are some more helpful tips to start a conversation:
How to ask - R U OK?
Got kids? Here's a good video to show them this month