While our physical well-being plays a hugely important role in our day-to-day health, it’s also important to take the time to look after your mental health. Caught up in the rush of busy, everyday working life, it’s easy to forget to practice self-care, mindfulness, and to check-in on those around you. But the great news is, now’s the perfect time to start!
Thursday 14th September will see Australia come together, once again, to celebrate the national suicide prevention day, better known as R U OK? Day. Since its launch in 2009, R U OK? Day has encouraged Australians to use the second Thursday of September to ask those around them at home, school, university and work the million-dollar question – are you OK?
While it may seem like an easy thing to do, approaching anyone you think may be struggling or in need of someone to talk to can be intimidating or daunting, which is why R U OK have created an easy, four step process for checking in on those around you.
First and foremost, ask the question. It’s important to ask at the right time and in a place that’s relaxed, where they won’t feel rushed and can answer without others overhearing or interrupting. By creating a safe space, you’re providing that friend, family member or colleague the best opportunity to speak their mind. Remember to keep it friendly and laidback, you’re not interrogating them, just checking in! If you’ve noticed a change in their behavior (run down, less talkative, unhappy) it’s alright to tell them you’ve noticed and that you just want to make sure they’re travelling okay.
If they push back, that’s alright too! Let them know they can always call or talk to you if they need to. If they’re happy to answer you, remember to listen without judgement and take what they say seriously. By giving them the time to explain what’s going on, you can then encourage action. Asking how they’ve managed similar situations in the past, how they’d like to be supported, or offering some practical suggestions is a good place to start. Some conversations will be too big for you to handle on your own, make sure you know when and how to seek professional help.
Lastly, remember to follow up. Put a reminder in your calendar to check in again in a few weeks and see how they’re going. Stay in touch and be there for them, don’t assume that they’re doing okay after one conversation. Asking “are you okay” regularly is the best way we can take care of each other.
At Envision Medical Imaging, everyone will be asking each other “are you okay?” and ensuring our colleagues and employees are feeling listened to and supported, especially if they aren’t feeling okay.