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Today is R U OK? Day, a national day of action dedicated to reminding us to check in regularly with people around us.
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and circumstances have made it even more important for us all to stay connected and, for those who are able, be willing to support those around us.
To make a difference to the mental health of our community, we need to support individuals to know how to ask someone they are worried about if they are OK, creating communities that reach out and support each other.
How often has our gut feeling told us that something is not quite right with someone we care about, but we avoided the conversation for fear of getting it wrong, or not knowing how to respond if the answer is, “No, I’m actually not OK”?
You don’t need to be an expert to support someone going through a tough time, but the first important step is to have the courage to reach out and ask R U OK?
By knowing what to say you can help someone feel supported and access appropriate help long before they're in crisis, which can make a really positive difference to their life.
Here are the four steps to asking
Remember that if you are feeling nervous or worried about reaching out and asking R U OK?, think about how difficult it must be for the other person to ask for help. Your conversation could be the one thing that makes a real difference.
Step One: Start the conversations - ask R U OK? How are things going? What is going on for you at the moment?
Step Two: Listen without judgement and don’t try to solve the problem. Just be there.
Step Three: Encourage action, whether that is telling someone else or making an appointment with their doctor or getting more information from a service online.
Step Four: Check-in. Follow-up with them again tomorrow at work or put a note in your diary to call them in one week
R U OK? want Australians to be confident in having a meaningful conversation and if someone says they’re not OK, make time to listen with an open mind, encourage action and regularly check in.
For more information on asking the question, you can go to www.ruok.org.au
Are you ok?
Our connection to others is what builds us up and keeps us strong. Having people sit beside us when times are good and when times are bad can make all the difference.
If you are working in small business, and you are going through a hard time, talk to someone you care about and let them know you aren’t OK. If you aren’t comfortable in doing so, there are a range of support services available 24/7 which you can call for confidential and anonymous support to talk through what is happening for you.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 – www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 - www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 - www.beyondblue.org.au
Mensline Australia: 1300 789 978 - www.mensline.org.au