It’s time to ask RU OK?

September 14, 2017

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2010 and 2014, the average rate of suicide was 2577 deaths a year.

RU OK? Day is happening tomorrow (Thursday).

This nationwide movement shines a light on suicide prevention across Australia through the power of connectedness.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2010 and 2014, the average rate of suicide was 2577 deaths a year.

In 2014 alone, 2160 males and 704 females took their own life. That equates to 7.8 suicides a day.

To think that many people feel suicide is their only option is heartbreaking.

To get involved it is as easy as asking just one simple question: RU OK?

All workplaces can get involved in this great initiative.

Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do.

So, if you notice someone who might be struggling, start a conversation.

The workplace represents an important connection point for all of us as we often spend a lot of our time working alongside colleagues, clients and customers.

The time we spend at work highlights our need to watch out for each other by asking a simply question: RU OK?

How to tell if someone needs support?

Over the past two weeks, have you noticed two or more of the following:

● Changes in their physical appearance:

Looking tired or drained of energy.

A pattern of illness.

Dramatic weight loss or gain.

Complaining of headaches or migraines.

Seem more fidgety or nervous than normal.

Drinking alcohol more often than usual.

Changes in mood:

Seem more irritable, snappy or fly off the handle more than usual.

Appear anxious or worried.

React more emotionally than usual.

Quick to anger.

Appear overwhelmed by tasks that they can usually manage.

● Changes in behaviour:

Seem more withdrawn.

Don’t find enjoyment in hobbies or interests.

Have difficulty concentrating or seem distracted.

Taking on more work as a form of distraction.

Not performing to their usual standard.

Changes in thoughts:

Tend to catastrophise everything (‘‘It’s always terrible ...’’).

Interprets situations negatively.

Personalise situations (‘‘They just don’t like me’’).

Express thoughts that are confused or irrational.

Complain about not being able to switch off their thoughts.

If you have noticed two or more of any of these for any team member, that person may need some extra support.

What can I do to help?

If you notice that someone is experiencing some of the indicators above, start a conversation with them.

It could make all of the difference.

● Ask RU OK?

Be relaxed.

Help them by asking the question: ‘‘I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself lately, RU OK?’’

Mention specific things that have made you concerned like: ‘‘I’ve noticed that you seem really tired recently’’ or ‘‘You are not your usual chatty self. RU OK?’’

● Listen without judgement:

Take what they say seriously.

Don’t interrupt or rush the conversation.

Give them space to think and sit patiently with the silence.

Encourage them to explain.

If they get angry or upset, stay calm and don’t take it personally.

Avoid comments like ‘‘You’ll be fine’’ or ‘‘Don’t worry about it’’.

Come from a genuine place of concern for them.

● Encourage action:

Recommend counselling support.

Ask them: ‘‘Where do you think we can go from here?’’

Ask: ‘‘What would be a good first step to take?’’

Ask: ‘‘What do you need from me? How can I help?’’

● Check in:

Remember to check in with them to see how they are going in a few days’ time.

Ask if they have found any better ways or solutions to manage their concerns.

If they haven’t done anything, don’t judge them because they may just need someone to listen to them for the moment.

You could ask: ‘‘Do you think it would be useful if we looked into finding you some professional support?’’

Understand it can take some people a long time to reach out for professional support.

Try and remain optimistic of the benefits of getting help.

—From Acacia Connection

● For more information, go to:

If you are thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis help is available. No one needs to face their problems alone.

Phone Lifeline on 131114 or call 000 (emergency services) if life is in danger.

Kidshelpline on 1800551800 is a free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service for young people aged between five and 25.

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