It’s time to ask RU OK?

What can I do to help?

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

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.

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. www.ruok.org.au 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 131 114 or call 000 (emer­gency ser­vices) if life is in dan­ger. Kid­shelpline on 1800 55 1800 is a free, pri­vate and con­fi­den­tial, tele­phone and on­line coun­selling ser­vice for young peo­ple aged be­tween five and 25.

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