How to ask RU OK?
What you can do to support your friends on this RU OK day
RU OK Day is coming up on Thursday 8th September 2022. This is always a really important day in the calendar because it’s when all Australians are reminded to look at the people around them and ask, ‘RU OK?’. Whether it’s friends, family, workmates, neighbours or even acquaintances, sometimes opening up the conversation could change a life.
How can you tell if someone is struggling and what are some tips for asking that all important question, RU OK?
What are some signs that someone is struggling?
Have you noticed that someone in your life isn’t behaving like they normally would? Perhaps they’re more quiet than usual and not responding to your invitations to go out? Or maybe they’re usually smiley and happy when you wave hello in the morning and recently you’ve noticed they look withdrawn or worried?
Before you ask whether they’re ok, make sure you’re ready to listen. There’s nothing worse than throwing a quick RU OK their way, then having to rush off before they can properly answer. Make sure you’re somewhere reasonably private and you’ve thought about what you’d do if they answer your question with ‘No’.
Here are some steps to follow from RU OK.
When you broach the conversation, say it in a way that shows you’re friendly and concerned. Perhaps mention the things that you’ve noticed and say that you’ve been worried about them.
If they say they are ok, don’t criticise or confront them. Just say you’re there for them if they ever need to talk. At least they know you’re there in the future if they ever need it.
2. Listen with an open mind
If they talk about what’s going on for them, it’s important to listen and don’t interrupt them. You don’t need to solve the problem for them, the best thing to do is listen.
Don’t judge them or make assumptions, but acknowledge that the problem sounds tough. Show them you’ve been listening by repeating the key points back to them.
3. Encourage action
You could ask some questions like how they might have solved the problem in the past or how you could best support them. You could also think about what might help you in a similar situation and give them some ideas of things to try.
If they’ve been feeling really down for over two weeks, you could also suggest they get some help from a GP or psychologist. Be positive about the role that professionals can play in getting through tough times. If you need some expert help, here are some suggestions.
4. Check in
Although you’ve done a great job of asking RU OK and opening up a conversation, it’s important to follow up a few weeks later to see how they’re doing. Pop a reminder in your diary to check in with them. You could say you’ve been thinking of them and wondered how they’re doing with the situation.
If they have made no changes or sought other help, don’t judge them. They might just need a friendly ear to listen to them. Showing genuine care will make a real difference in their lives.
Why is RU OK Day so important?
Did you know that 8 people take their lives every day in Australia? The reasons for suicide are multifaceted and complex. Dr Thomas Joiner wrote in his book ‘Why People Die By Suicide’ that he believes there are three forces at play when someone is at risk: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones, the sense of isolation, and the learned ability to hurt oneself.
This hit home for us at Five Good Friends. Our aim is to empower people to maintain a quality lifestyle on their own terms. We believe there are many ways we can do this.
One is having support from a wide range of sources. An example is allied health support, such as seeing a physiotherapist or occupational therapist to improve physicality or improve the way a person manages with growing older or with a disability.
There are also various technologies for seniors like wearables or disability aids like walkers, which can improve the way a person interacts with the world. A person can also get the loving support from a Helper at Five Good Friends who can be there for domestic help or personal care whenever they need it, day or night.
Another key component is having a sense of connection and friendship with the people around us. We are inspired by some of the world’s longest living culture where friendship is a key component to living long, meaningful lives. We believe that when people are socially active and integrated into their communities, they’ll live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
To find out more about how Five Good Friends can support you or your loved one, get in touch with us.