Thursday 9 September is national action day for R U OK? This year, they want you to ask “R U really OK?”
R U Ok day encourages life changing conversations which can inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with those in their world who may be struggling with life. R U OK day does an amazing job of normalising a conversation that can sometimes be difficult to have.
R U OK? is a phrase has been used so often over the past 18 – 24 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are finding themselves asking this phrase more frequently or being asked this question. At times we may feel OK, on the fence or not OK. All these feelings are completely normal and valid. We are currently finding ourselves losing the boundaries of work and homelife, wearing many hats at once such as teacher, worker, spouse, and potentially making poor eating choices and sleeping habits.
Statistics show 1 in 4 Australians are lonely and have no-one to speak to and suicide and self-harm rates are alarmingly on the rise. Over 3000 suicide deaths occur in Australia each year leaving a devastating impact on families, friends and whole communities.
What can I do to check if some really is ok? I’m not a trained psychologist.
You don’t have to be and expert to reach out and be a good friend, concerned neighbour or colleague. You just have to be empathetic and willing to listen.
Use these 4 steps and have a conversation that could change someone’s life:
- Ask R U OK? – Be friendly, relaxed and concerned in your approach. Help them open up by asking questions like “How are you going?” or “what’s been happening?”.
- Listen – Take what they say seriously and don’t rush the conversation. Encourage them to explain why they feel like they do.
- Encourage action – Encourage professional advice if needed. Ask what support they need.
- Check in – Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.
We encourage employers to remember the power of introducing an EAP (Employee Assistance Program into your workplace. Providing resources for employees to tap in to, should they be feeling not ok, is a great support for those feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed. This may include links and contact numbers for confidential and anonymous helplines, or the details of a dedicated psychologist.
Socially distancing, lockdowns and working from home can often lead to employees feeling more isolated and disconnected, therefore letting their productivity and mental health decrease.
HR Central can help you with the implementation of an EAP plus recommend other useful tools and resources you can have available to your employees that could really make the difference.
Some resources/links to share in your workplace