When keeping healthy, a lot of us think about what we put in our mouths and how many times a week we should go to the gym, therefore mental health can often be neglected. So often we’re thinking about how we look on the outside, that we forget about how us, or others, might be feeling on the inside.
Depression affects many people in a lifetime, and while you might not be suffering from it, people around you might be and sometimes the way people act can hide how they’re actually feeling. That’s why we need to talk to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues and ask them: “Are you okay?”
RUOK? day, on September 10, is a reminder to regularly ask the people around you how they’re doing. A simple question can save the life of a loved one and can help those who are struggling with life at the moment.
Started by Gavin Larkin, this not for profit organisation came about after Gavin’s dad Barry tragically committed suicide, leaving the family in deep grief with many unanswered questions.
A feeling of depression is often lonely, so asking that simple question can help break down walls that have been built up. Asking the question itself can be daunting, but it’s important to be prepared and pick your moment well.
The first step is asking the question and this can be in any way that feels natural to you. Mentioning specific things that you have noticed and are concerned about. The second step is to listen. Listening to what they say, taking them seriously and understanding how they’re feeling is a great way for them to feel comfortable enough to open up and let you know what’s really going on.
After you’ve had the conversation it’s important to encourage action, whether it be encouraging them to take time out and have a little me-time, or encouraging them to see a healthcare professional. Family and friends are the people most likely to persuade someone to get help.
Following up after your conversation lets the person know that you are giving them long-term support. Being genuine with your care is what makes all the difference.
Take this time this RUOK? day to connect with family and friends and make sure that everyone is doing okay. You could help save the life of a loved one.
Visit the RUOK? for more information.
Image via katiemac.com.au