There has never been a more important time to stay connected and check in with the people we care about.
By asking, listening without judgement, encouraging action and checking in, you can help someone you care about through a tough time.
The message for RUOK Day 2020 is ‘There’s more to say after RUOK’ and focuses on having the confidence to navigate conversations with someone who might be struggling.
We asked some of our mental health experts at Monash Health for their advice on what to say after RUOK:
Barry Bloch, Head of Organisational Transformation
“When you ask RUOK it is so important to listen loudly. Make sure when you ask that you are fully present with the person you are talking to. Turn off the distractions in your head and from your technology. Be human with them. Show you care and show you hear. And if possible, help them find simple, practical ways to look forward and to look up instead of looking down. When others share how they are feeling with you they are being courageous and generous. See the discussion as a privilege and a joy. Ultimately we can all support each other to be ok each and every day.”
Dr Sika Turner, Senior Clinical Psychologist
“Often the thing that stops people from asking RUOK in the first place is the fear of saying the wrong thing or not knowing how to help. It’s important to remember that by starting a conversation, you’re not expected to solve the problem. A good starting point is to listen carefully. Don’t assume you know what’s going on and make sure you ask questions get a good understanding of the problem. It’s not up to you to fix it, but communicating, understanding and validating what’s going on will go a long way in helping.”
Dr David Moseley, Clinical Psychologist and ELMHS Psychology Discipline Senior
“Connecting with young people around their interests can be a great way to get an insight into how they are travelling. Let them know you are available and have them in mind. Be ready to respond when they approach.”
Max von Sabler, Clinical Psychologist
“Are you okay is often just the starting point. The most important thing to remember is that a conversation about how someone is feeling is just that – a conversation. Try to resist the urge to solve someone’s problems. Doing this can take the pressure off of both of you. Of course, practical advice can be really helpful where appropriate, however what often matters most to people is knowing that you’ve listened to them and that you’ve heard them. Ask questions where you can. Questions that are about improving your understanding and the other persons of the situation and questions about how they feel. Doing this can communicate empathy, can show understanding, and can even help someone to craft a better understanding with you. This is the essence of what it means to be socially supported!”