R U OK?Day – Thursday 14th September 2023

Taryn Heinrich

Today is our national day of action when we remind Australians that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?”

R U OK?Day is a wonderful initiative that encourages people to connect with one another on a deeper level and ask the important question, “Are you OK?”. It’s a reminder of the significance of open and empathetic communication in our lives.

R U OK?Day emphasises the importance of regularly checking in on the wellbeing of the people in our lives, whether it’s in a personal or professional context.

Before reaching out to someone, it’s essential to ensure you’re in the right mindset to have a meaningful conversation. Consider if you’re emotionally prepared, willing to listen attentively and capable of giving as much time as needed.

It is important to understand that asking someone if they’re OK may lead to a negative response, and you can’t “fix” their problems. Some individuals might not be ready or willing to talk and that’s ok.

Selecting the right time and place for a conversation is crucial. Ensure privacy and comfort and find a suitable time when the other person can chat without interruptions.

The four steps to a meaningful conversation:

  1. Ask
  • Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach
  • Help them open up by asking questions like “How are you going?” or “What’s been happening?”
  • Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?”
  1. Listen
  • Take what they say seriously and don’t interrupt or rush the conversation
  • Don’t judge their experiences or reactions but acknowledge that things seem tough for them
  • If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence
  • Encourage them to explain: “How are you feeling about that?” or “How long have you felt that way?”
  • Show that you’ve listened by repeating back what you’ve heard (in your own words) and ask if you have understood them properly
  1. Encourage Action
  • Ask: “What have you done in the past to manage similar situations?”
  • Ask: “How would you like me to support you?”
  • Ask: “What’s something you can do for yourself right now? Something that’s enjoyable and relaxing?
  • You could say: “When I was going through a difficult time, I tried this… You might find it useful too.”
  • If they’ve been feeling really down for more than 2 weeks, encourage them to see a health professional. You could say “It might be useful to link in with someone who can support you. I’m happy to assist you to find the right person to talk to.”
  • Be positive about the role of professionals in helping get through tough times
  1. Check in
  • Pop a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks. If they’re really struggling, follow up with them sooner
  • You could say: “I’ve been thinking of you and wanted to know how you’ve been going since we last chatted.”
  • Ask if they’ve found a better way to manage the situation. If they haven’t done anything, don’t judge them. They might just need someone to listen to them for the moment
  • Stay in touch and be there for them.

Information and resources from: www.ruok.org.au

R U OK?Day serves as a reminder that genuine care and concern can make a significant difference in someone’s life. By asking the simple question “Are you OK?” and following these steps, we can create a more compassionate and supportive community where individuals feel comfortable sharing their struggles and seeking help when needed.


You can also call upon these services for advice and assistance:

Lifeline (24/7)                                                                                                 1800 RESPECT (24/7)
13 11 14                                                                                                             1800 737 732
www.lifeline.org.au                                                                                       www.1800respect.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service (24/7)                                                            MensLine (24/7)
1300 659 467                                                                                                   1300 78 99 78
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au                                                      www.mensline.org.au

Beyond Blue (24/7)                                                                                        Griefline (6am – midnight)
1300 224 636                                                                                                    1300 845 745
www.beyondblue.org.au                                                                              www.griefline.org.au

Kids Helpline (24/7, for youth 5-25)
1800 55 1800

QLife (3pm-midnight)
Anonymous, free LGBTI support
1800 184 52

If a life is in danger or you’re concerned for your own or someone else’s safety please call 000.

About The Author
Taryn Heinrich

Taryn’s passion is working with businesses and individuals to bring out their best. Taryn developed her HR generalist skills working on investigations, strategic planning, employment contracts, and developing and implementing HR policies and procedures.

Working closely with your business and employees, Taryn has a distinctive talent for setting people up with the tools they need to do their job safely and helping your business operate successfully. If you need help with anything HR related, Taryn is your go-to person!

On the weekend, you’ll find Taryn spending time with her family and friends – she’s always the first to arrive and the last to leave.

For more useful information, follow Taryn on LinkedIn.

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