Take the courage and ask R U OK?
Updated: Sep 17, 2018
Dr Yisha Yu, Clinical Psychologist
R U OK Day is this Thursday. It is a national day of action where we are called to stop and check-in with our family, friends and workmates and spread genuine care.
Asking someone “Are you OK?” can make a world of difference to someone who has been struggling with their mental health in silence and secrecy, and needing liquid courage to take that first step to seeking professional help.
You don’t need to be a self-help expert to take part.
Here are four simple steps to creating meaningful conversation.
1. Ask R U OK?
Start a conversation preferably somewhere comfy and private. Pick a moment that feels right.
Ask open-ended questions "you don’t seem your usual self, how are you doing/feeling?”
Let them talk. Don’t interrupt and jump into ‘advice giving’ mode. Listen actively with an open mind.
3. Encourage Action
Show that you've listened by repeating back what you heard they say (in your own words). “I can hear that …”, “It is understandable that you…”
Help them think what can be done, such as asking “What has helped you in the past to manage similar situations?”
Ask “what’s something helpful you can do for yourself right now?”
NEED EXPERT HELP
Some conversations are too big to hold on your own. Trust your gut if you feel like they have been really struggling and are at risk. Encourage them to take that first step and talk to a health professional, such as their GP. A GP can provide support and advice.
Put a reminder in your diary to check-in with them again soon to see how they are going.
For information about suicide and crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467
Dr Yisha Yu and Dr Liza Chervonsky are doctoral-level clinical psychologists who treat a number of common issues, including anxiety, low mood, anger management, social and relationship difficulties, work and academic issues, and personality issues in adults, children, adolescents, and parents. They work from a number of therapeutic modalities, including schema therapy, CBT, DBT, ACT, mindfulness, and solution-focused.
To book an appointment, call (02) 8320 0566