A simple question, but it can be tough to ask

R U OK Day is held on the second Thursday in September, this year the day falls on Thursday September 13.

If you see volunteers around Queanbeyan and Canberra this week be sure to stop for a helpful chat.

The day is designed to help people feel more confident asking, “Are you OK?” and starting a conversation with someone they’re worried about. 

The charity has local branches and encourages everyone to invest more time in the people around them, because when relationships are strong people are more likely to see signs that someone’s struggling.

And when you see those signs, notice changes, or just feel that something’s not quite right with a friend, colleague, loved one, team mate or neighbour the charity aims for people to trust that gut instinct, reach out to them and ask “Are you ok?” 

R U OK volunteers are working to equip people with the skills and confidence to navigate a conversation when someone says, “No, I’m not ok.”

There are simple steps to navigating a conversation like the one described above.

Firstly, encourage action and help them think about one or two things that can be done to better manage the situation.

Perhaps suggest they take some time out for themselves or do something that’s fun or relaxing.

Ask “What can I do to help you get through this?” or “How would you like me to support you?”

If you’ve found a particular strategy or health service useful, share it with them.

R U OK suggests you can also say something like: “When I was going through a difficult time, I tried this... You might find it useful too.” If necessary, encourage them to see a doctor or other professional.

This is particularly important if they’ve been feeling really down for more than two weeks. Alternatively you could say, “It might be useful to link in with someone who can support you. I'm happy to help you find the right person to talk to.”

Another way of approaching this is to ask, “Do you think it would be useful if we looked into finding some professional support?”

They also advise to be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times, but understand that it may take a bit of time to find the right one.

R U OK provides extensive information and resources on their website here: