R U OK? is a charity that promotes suicide prevention by encouraging us to create deeper relationships with our classmates, workmates, friends and families by asking a very simple question.
Mental health issues may be easy to sweep under the rug as an outsider, but there are real and lasting impacts that can affect our overall health. It is very normal for sadness or loneliness to creep within and grow without us realising, so it is important to consider opening up when you feel this way or reaching out when you notice anything different. Simply asking if someone is okay can move the largest of mountains.
Here are some things to think about during R U OK? Week and to approach a friend that you think may need some support:
- Remove the stigma
- Depression and anxiety can happen to anyone, for a multitude of reasons or for no reason at all. This is normal, so seeking for help is also normal. Remove any preconceptions, assumptions or judgements to become a part of what could be a solution.
- Open the conversation
- Asking if a friend is okay, taking them out for a coffee, or even taking a workout class together can make all the difference. Remember to actively listen.
- Suggest seeing a health professional
- When your friend is ready, you can be there for them when looking for more help. There are so many limitations on how you can help when dealing with the complexity of mental health. Health professionals are clinically trained to support us in ways we won’t be able to.
- Go to your General Practitioner, request a referral to see a counsellor or a specialist that would be suitable for you.
- Speak with your school’s chaplain, your church’s counsellor or seek work’s mental health resources.
- Check on yourself
- All of the above applies to you. If you find yourself struggling mentally and emotionally struggling, reach out to a friend or a health professional. If you’re not ready to do any of these, that’s okay too. Just remember that what you’re feeling is normal and there are so many resources and people that can be there to get you through it. If you are feeling distressed or suicidal, you can call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14 at any time of the day.