Yesterday many across the Maranoa paused to ask ‘R U Ok?’
R U Ok Day, which was recognised on Thursday 14 September, was a chance for Australians in rural and remote communities to let the people they care about know ‘I’m here to hear’, every day of the year.
It is a day to remind us all that we need to have meaningful conversations and to check in with our mates, especially those who are doing it tough in rural and remote areas.
R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton encourages people to really mean it when they ask others if they are ok.
“If you really care and want to hear an honest answer, be genuine with your ask, make space to listen and let the person know you’re sticking around for whatever comes next,” she said.
R U Ok?’s research has shown that more than four in five people who engaged in a meaningful conversation felt better about managing their situation having talked it through and felt supported, heard, and safe during the conversation.
However, the research also found that when asked if they were OK, two in five people who said they were OK actually were not OK. The respondents in the research told the team that in order to open up they need to feel they can trust the person, the person needs to be authentic and the environment needs to feel safe and private.
“We know the positive impact an R U OK? conversation have when people know and trust each other,” Ms Newton said.
“This usually means that trust has been built over time, they’re familiar with each other’s routines and behaviours, and they likely know what’s going on in each other’s lives.
“This trust, along with consideration of the where and when a conversation will take place contributes to making an R U OK? conversation truly meaningful.”
You can find free resources at ruok.org.au to help you know when and how to ask, ‘are you OK?’ in your workplace, school and community, every day of the year.
For support at any time of day or night, Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis support. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online at: lifeline.org.au.
Mensline offer free 24/7 support for by telephone and online for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. Call 1300 78 99 78 or chat online at: mensline.org.au.
13YARN is a free 24/7 service offering crisis support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Call 13YARN (13 92 76).
Tips on how to let the people in your world know you’re here to hear:
• Asking R U OK?, how are you doing, or what’s going in your world – is the first step, but genuinely listening to the answer is key. That’s why it’s important you’re here to hear – whatever comes next.
• Make sure you’re giving your mate, your colleague, your family member or loved one the right environment to open up. They know you. And you know them. You know when they feel most at ease. So, take some time to think about where and how you’ll be completely here to hear.
• Choose a time and a place where you can give your full attention, free of distractions.
• Create a situation where the person you’re asking feels comfortable discussing difficult thoughts, feelings, or emotions.
• Tie it into something that makes sense to you both – no matter what that is and where it takes you. From a walk in the park, a sit down over a coffee, or a quiet night in, you’ll know when and where will be best.
• And remember every day is the day to ask R U OK? and let the people in your world know you’re here, to really hear, because a conversation could change a life.