If you have noticed a change in someones behaviour and suspect that something may be wrong, go with your gut and ask them R U OK?
Some signs to look for in a person that you can use to help determine if you should start an R U OK? conversation are:
- Confused or irrational behaviour
- Feeling like they are a burden
- Low self esteem
- Mood swings
- Self medicating
- Change in appearance
- Reckless behaviour
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
You can also consider events in the persons life such as:
- A traumatic incident
- Problems at school
- Relationships issues
- Change in circumstances at home
- Health issues
- Financial issues
Before asking the question you should be prepared. Be sure that you are actually willing to listen to what they have to say and willing to help. Do not be judgemental. Be aware that you may not have the answers to their problems. Don't be upset if they don't want to talk to you. Take what they say seriously and be patient.
The next step is to encourage them to take action. You could say, "What do you think the next step should be?". You could prompt them to seek support services or see their GP. Ask if you can help them directly. Ask if they have anyone in their life that can help them.
Finally you should be sure to check in with them from time to time. Offer your support again. Let them know that what they have shared with you did not fall on deaf ears and encourage them to continue working towards a better life for themselves.
Here are some helpful contacts for those who might need it
- Beyond Blue (24/7) 1300 224 636 beyondblue.org.au
- Lifeline (24/7 ) 13 11 14 lifeline.org.au
- Suicide Call Back Service (24/7) 1300 659 467 suicidecallbackservice.org.au
- Kids Helpline (24/7) 1800 55 1800 kidshelpline.com.au
- MensLine (24/7) 1300 78 99 78 mensline.org.au
You can also check out the R U OK? website which has lots of useful resources available.