Consider when you ask the question
While we all agree that checking in with friends, family or loved ones on regular basis is incredibly important, please be mindful about the timing of when you ask the question. Try to ask it when you know you have the time and capacity to listen and respond actively and with consideration. These conversations can't occur when we're rushing out the door, going to bed, or distracted. It's important to ensure that we have time to consider their response, listen and respond accordingly.
R U OK Day opens up the lines of communication and incites an incredible conversation around mental health, however we have to ensure that we really listen. When having conversations, it can be easy to get distracted or start thinking about what you might say next, but instead try to really listen to their every word, check in to ensure you've got it and be open to understanding how they feel without prejudice.
In all conversations surrounding mental health, it is always best to avoid judgement. Judging someone can include obvious things like making fun of them, telling them their behaviour is attention seeking, using language that might hurt their feelings, but it can also include less obvious responses like avoiding that person. Instead, have an honest and open conversation, remind them that they are not alone and that you are there for support.
Be there for ongoing support
Talking about mental health can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure how to support someone through their journey. The one thing to remember is that it is incredibly important that the person knows that you can be someone they can turn to, even if it means you need to learn how to be that person whilst maintaining boundaries. There are some incredible resources that can outline the best way to support someone suffering from mental health concerns, such as via R U OK’s website or through Lysn, an online mental health and wellbeing site that also offers sessions with psychologists.
Encourage them to seek professional help
As a friend, colleague, or loved one, you can be there to provide a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. However sometimes it can be hard for someone to really open up and be honest about their feelings, and in these cases, it is important they seek professional help. Services like Lysn provide professional counselling options by qualified Australian psychologists. Regular counselling sessions or talk therapy can be an extremely effective method for treating an array of mental health concerns. In all instances it can be wise to suggest professional help as an option should that person feel things are getting difficult. One on one sessions with a psychologist either through face to face consultations or in the comfort of your own home can be particularly beneficial for anyone suffering mental health concerns.
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