“He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV
If ever there was a year for needing strength for the weary, 2020 would be it. It has been a challenging year for everyone and there seems to be no end in sight to this pandemic or the global economic crisis that is following. There have been job losses, loss of businesses, reduced income, working from home, home-schooling, physical separation from loved ones due to border closures, social isolation and travel restrictions just to name a few of the stressors in our lives this year. There is no shame in saying that this year has been hard on our collective mental health!
So, this year, as we approach R U OK? Day it is more important than ever to check in on people who are in our world, to ask ‘Are you OK?’ and then follow that up with a conversation and a next step. Let’s remind each other that we are not alone in this. Let’s be the community we need in this season. And through it all, be kind to ourselves, and ask for help if we need it!
Below are some tips from the R U OK? Team to help us ask the right questions, listen, encourage action and then check in. Learn more here.
1. Ask R U OK? Or say something like:
“I’ve noticed a few changes in what you’ve been saying/doing. How are things for you at the moment?”
“I know there’s been some big life changes for you recently. How are you going with that?”
“You don’t seem yourself lately – want to talk about it?”
“Just checking in to see how you’re going?”
2. Listen – You could say:
“What’s been happening?”
“Have you been feeling this way for a while?”
“I’m here to listen if you want to talk more.”
“It sounds like that would be really tough. How are you going with managing it?”
“Do you feel like chatting a bit longer? I’m ready to listen.”
3. Encourage action – You could say:
“What do you think is a first step that would help you through this?”
“What can I do right now to support you?”
“Have you spoken to your doctor or another health professional about this? It might be a matter of finding the right fit with someone.”
“Have you had much support around you?”
4. Check in – You could say:
“I would like to keep checking in with you, is that OK?”
“Hey, how have you been since we last chatted?”
“Just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing?”
“Have things improved or changed since we last spoke?”
If you or someone you know needs urgent support, please contact the helplines below:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kidshelpline: 1800 55 1800
R U OK website
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1800 273 8255
Samaritans: 116 123