Have you ever felt that someone you know or care about is behaving differently? Maybe they seem a little off or out of sorts, a bit cranky or withdrawn. If you have noticed this, what can you do?
It can be as simple as starting a conversation and commenting on that change you have seen. Starting a simple conversation can help someone to open up and research has suggested that it may help aid in suicide prevention.
But what if you’re not sure how to have this type of conversation? One simple way is to follow the R U OK? Conversation steps.
Step 1: Ask R U OK?
- Be relaxed and yourself
- Use open ended questions such as ‘How are you going?’ or ‘What’s been happening?’
- Tell them what you have noticed e.g. ‘You seem less chatty lately. How are you going?’
Step 2: Listen without judgement
- Take what they say seriously
- Don’t judge
- Encourage them to explain how they feel
- Show you are listening by repeating back what you have heard using your own words
Step 3: Encourage action
- Help to identify strategies. You may ask ‘What have you done in the past when you have felt like this?’ or ‘How can I support you?
- Be positive and share your own experience if appropriate
- If they have been feeling off for several weeks, encourage them to seek professional support
Step 4: Check in
- Follow up with your friends
- Stay in touch and be there for them
This year, R U OK Day is on September 13. For more information, visit www.ruok.org.au