R U OK?

With R U OK day coming up this month, we thought we’d ask the question.

Because the truth is, a lot of us are not. Research by the Productivity Commission shows that 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental health issue each year. And that affects us all, even if it’s not us who experience issues, we know if something is wrong with our partner, our friends, colleagues, and family. And then we stress, we worry.

According to R U OK? here’ some signs that someone you know might not be ok:

Changes in appearance

•    Tired
•    Flat / no energy
•    Changes in eating habits – eating much more or much less
•    Health issues such as migraines and headaches
•    Drinking alcohol more than usual
•    Seem fidgety and more nervous than usual

Changes in mood

•    More irritable, snappy, or prone to fly off the handle
•    Anxious about work and home life
•    Reactions are more emotional than the situation calls for
•    Quick to anger
•    Appear to be overwhelmed by a normal workload

Changes in behaviour

•    More withdrawn than usual
•    Don’t seem to enjoy the things they normally do
•    Have difficulty concentrating or are distracted
•    Avoiding social situations
•    Not performing to their usual standard

Changes in how thoughts are expressed

•    Cannot see a positive side, for example, “It’s always terrible….”
•    Concludes the worst, for example, they believe two people interacting are talking about them
•    Personalise everything, for example, “I knew they’d make me do that, they don’t like me”
•    Saying things that sound confused or irrational
•    Have difficulty switching off

SO ASK THE QUESTION, R U OK?

What’s the worst that can happen?

Your friend says no, they’re not ok and then tells you something they’ve been holding back? While it may be overwhelming to hear, it’s important to just be there. 

Before you ask, make sure you’re ready. Are you in a good headspace yourself? Do you have the time and are able to genuinely listen? You won’t have all the answers and that’s ok, listening is the most important thing you can do. Make sure can go somewhere private and that the time is right for them too. 

When asking, use an open question like “You don’t seem yourself lately, what’s been happening”? or “you seem less chatty recently, how are you going”.

Let them know you’re asking because you’re concerned, let them talk as much as they need to without interruption. Ask, “how can I help” or “where can we go from here” and follow up after the conversation to see if they’re doing ok.

What if they say no, they’re fine when you know they are not? That’s ok too, it just means they’re not ready to talk yet. Let them know you’re there for them if they ever want to chat.

WHAT IF I’M NOT OK?

Then please reach out to someone, a friend, a family member, a colleague or you can call any of the numbers below. Know that people care, even if it feels like they don’t. There is no need to struggle alone.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, try calling any of the support services below:

Lifeline – 13 11 14
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 65 94 67
MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 18 00
1800 Respect – 1800 73 77 32

CONCLUSION

We all need help from time to time. Life can be challenging and tough sometimes. Whether you need help or want to look out for someone you think may be struggling – reach out. Support is vital to help someone in trouble move forward. We hope U R OK, if not, please reach out to us for help.


It is very important that you understand that the information above is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. It is also worth noting that the Australian financial and taxation system is ever-changing, and the information above may no longer be relevant. Again, we suggest seeking professional advice from a financial adviser before proceeding.

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The information contained on this website is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where necessary, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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