Today is ‘R U Ok?’ day.
Is it necessary? Absolutely yes. Mental health is a big issue (especially in the LGBTQI community) yet so many people are ill-equipped to either deal with their own mental health or how to help and care for someone struggling.
Do we need more information about this? Absolutely yes. While asking ‘R U Ok?’ is a great starting point, we need to know what to do if a person says, ‘No, no I’m not.’
If you experience that, on the spot, it might cause you to feel anxiety that may prevent you from asking that question again! We wouldn’t want that! So, what should you do?
Simply, ask questions about what the person is experiencing and listen – actively listen – be there to just listen, not offer your opinion or your experience – just listen and show that person you genuinely, absolutely care. Questions like ‘tell me more about what you’re feeling’ and offering back what you’re hearing (ie ‘Your workplace is making you feel really vulnerable, is that right?’) can help a person to just explore more deeply what they’re feeling and to gain some insight. Asking questions like ‘what do you think you might do?’ can help them to consider their options.
This is the important bit – if your friend starts to talk about suicide (or even alludes to it), be strong and talk with them about what they have planned. Read this page. When people talk about ‘R U Ok?’ day potentially saving lives, THIS is what they’re talking about.
Life is going to throw some ugly things at you some days and we all react in different ways. We are all going to have times when we need help. Asking for help can sometimes seem hard though. Our society has focused too much on being strong instead of being just human and acknowledging that times can sometimes be tough. ‘R U Ok?’ is a great opportunity to check in on your friends, show them you love and care for them and maybe make a real, meaningful difference to someone’s life.