Mental health awareness campaign, R U Ok? is a non for profit organisation spreading the powerful question, “Are you ok?” throughout the nation today. The campaign educates people on suicide prevention and how each and every individual can help someone. One question leaves a very powerful message that can help someone in need suffering from mental health disorder(s).
Why are we only reminded to ask our friends and family a powerful question once a year? Mental health sufferers forego the continuous daily challenges each and every day; 365 days a year.
In Australia, mental health has a negative stigma attached. Mental health is looked upon as weak and thought of as if it’s their fault for feeling depressed or stressed. Mental health can be hard to distinguish compared to a physical injury but can be just as damaging.
The campaign bringing awareness to the public should continuously enlighten and educate how each individual can help someone on a daily basis. Whilst today we may save or bring joy to someone who hasn’t felt pure happiness in awhile. Think about how you are going to help that person next week or next year?
Mental health is an ongoing battle, and should be treated accordingly. Asking someone are you ok? is more challenging and sensitive than simply asking a question. A few steps may make you feel more comfortable to know how to look after your friend/ family member.
Ask: Are You Ok?
Prior to asking start a normal conversation as you would normally do whilst staying relaxed, such as “What’s been happening?” While asking if they are ok, mention specific things that may have initially concerned you to begin the conversation, such as; “i’ve noticed you’ve been really tired lately”.
Listen Without Judgment
The person who you are talking to is already dealing with their continuous negative thoughts surrounding their head. All they need is someone to listen to them and reverse their current negative thoughts or at least bring some clarity. Allow them to take their time and if they start closing up openly engage and ask comforting questions. If they become angry or upset remain calm and collected, remind them you are here because you care for them.
How Can You Help Them?
Dependent on the person will showcase different strategies to help the person. If needed provide health services that would be beneficial. Family and friends are more likely to persuade someone to seek help. Your words can be powerfully life changing. Alternatively the individual may need some time for themself such as a fun day outside etc.
Don’t Forget About Them
Keep in contact with them, even if it’s simply to put a reminder in your phone for every two weeks. The person should know that you are continuously there for them, not just a once off. They need continuous support.
R U Ok day is a wonderful campaign but don’t leave asking are you ok to someone in need just for the 10th of September. People suffering from mental health need continuous support and your question could alter and change their lives around for the better.