R U OK?
It’s a simple question that Bunbury Headspace are encouraging locals to ask their friends and family not just today on R U OK? Day but all the time.
“Asking someone honestly if they are OK is really important – days like these start conversations about mental health and help those in need find that support is around them,” Bunbury Headspace community engagement officer Penny McCall said.
“Then once you’ve asked the question you need to listen without judgement and be prepared to follow up to make sure the person you are talking to get help if they need it.”
For the past five years, staff from Bunbury Headspace have visited coffee shops throughout the City on R U OK? Day to start fresh conversations.
“Chatting with a friend over coffee is a relaxed experience and we encourage everyone to check up on each other, whether it’s at work, school or at home,” Ms McCall said.
Bunbury Headspace is a free service for those aged 12-25 who need help. Their services include counselling, support to beat alcohol and drug addictions and courses to improve mental and physical health.
But suicide doesn’t just affect young people. The team at Bunbury Headspace said there are a number of excellent local services that are ready to help with issues across the board.
How to ask 'Are you OK?'
ALEC: Ask, Listen, Encourage action (which may simply mean assisting someone towards support), Check in (stay in touch and be there for them)
Trust your gut: Expect people to minimise and say they're OK when they're not. Trust your gut reaction – if you know someone well, be gently persistent."
Don't assume: We see someone in a high-performing role or doing well at work or they might have a great family and we make assumptions. How someone is presenting on the outside can be very different to how they're presenting on the inside.
Real-time conversations and connections matter: A text doesn't cut it if someone is really struggling. It's effectiveness versus efficiency: it might be more efficient to send a text message but is it more effective?
Take the initiative: Don't wait for someone to come to you before you ask how they are.
If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.