Each year, R U OK Day reminds us how important it is to check in with those we love. This year, Thursday September 9th is marked as R U OK Day and the message is "Are they really ok?"
R U OK recognise that life's up and downs can get to us all at one stage or another, especially during lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions that can make us feel further apart from each other than we might normally. This means the chances are someone you know might be struggling. This R U OK Day, we remind you that your genuine concern and support can make a huge difference - whether what they are facing is big or small.
We urge you not to wait until someone you love or care for is visibly distressed or in a crisis. Are they really OK? Ask them today. Your conversation could change a life.
Not sure how to ask? R U OK have developed some helpful tips on asking "Are you OK?".
1 / ASK "ARE YOU OK?"
Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach.
Help them open up by asking questions like "How are you going?" or "What’s been happening?"
Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like "You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?"
Don't criticise them if they don't want to talk
2 / LISTEN WITH AN OPEN MIND
Take what they say seriously and don't interrupt or rush the conversation.
Don’t judge their experiences or reactions but acknowledge that things seem tough for them.
If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence.
Encourage them to explain: "How are you feeling about that?" or "How long have you felt that way?"
3 / ENCOURAGE ACTION
Ask: “What have you done in the past to manage similar situations?”
Ask: “How would you like me to support you?"
Ask: “What’s something you can do for yourself right now? Something that’s enjoyable or relaxing?”
You could say: "When I was going through a difficult time, I tried this... You might find it useful too."
4 / CHECK IN
Pop a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks. If they're really struggling, follow up with them sooner.
You could say: "I've been thinking of you and wanted to know how you've been going since we last chatted."
Ask if they've found a better way to manage the situation. If they haven't done anything, don't judge them. They might just need someone to listen to them for the moment.
Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.
IF THEY NEED EXPERT HELP
Some conversations are too big for family and friends to take on alone. If someone’s been really low for more than 2 weeks - or is at risk - please contact a professional as soon as you can.
Fore more information to get involved, visit the R U OK Day website HERE
You can visit the Peak Pharmacies website HERE