Disclosure: The Organic Society accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

The conversation that could make a difference and change your life, or the life of someone you might know. It could be a close family member or a dearly beloved friend. It might be an acquaintance or someone on the street. It doesn’t matter, we can all make a difference just by asking “R U OK?”

Did you know that mental illnesses and depression affect 1 in 3 Australians which can lead to suicide? Did you know, in Australia, over 65,000 Australians attempt suicide every year? That’s a huge number, especially when the leading cause of death for Australian’s aged between 15 and 44 is also suicide. Stats on suicide taken from Black Dog Institute.

So often in our busy lives do we forget to make time to have quality conversations. Conversations that are deep and meaningful. Conversations that are positive and give off good vibes. Sometimes we are just so busy that we get caught up in our own lives that we forgot to ask. So today as you’re reading this, try to remember to reach out to someone to have that conversation. The conversation that can make a difference.

How to Make a Difference?

But how do you ask the question? Well, according to the R U Ok website we should do the following,

  1. Ask

But before you ask, it’s best to be prepared and you need ask yourself, Are you prepared to listen and are you ready to understand? Is now the best time to have this kind of conversation? Sometimes, it might seem like a good time to ask but you’re not in the right environment. For example, having that conversation in front of a group of work colleagues might be embarrassing and might not be appropriate. So it always best to assess the situation and use your best judgement before asking. When you’re ready to ask, make sure you’re ready to listen.

  1. Listen

There’s a ol’ saying out there, “You were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason”  by Epictetus, the Greek Sage and Stoic philosopher. This is a time where we should be doing more listening and less talking. But it’s about listening without judgement. Listening to understand, listen for clues on what to do next to make a difference. Listening to encourage that other personal to take positive action.

  1. Encourage Action

Some important questions to ask might be,

  • “Is there anything I can do to help?”
  • “How would you like me to support you?”
  • “Is there anyone else we can speak to for help?

These are just a few questions you can ask. Sometimes, even sharing a personal experience you might have had and overcome can possibly help make a difference.

Always encourage them to see a health professional or seek assistance from organisations such as RUOK?Life Line and Beyond Blue. Remember to stay positive.

  1. Check in

Remember to check in with that person. Put a reminder in your diary if you have to. You could say: “How’s things since we last spoke? Have things improved? No matter what has happened, stay non-judgemental and listen.

Maybe send them some inspirational resources you think might help them, like our previous post How to be Happy Again After Losing Everything.

Sometimes people just want to know someone cares. Just by checking in with someone and having that conversation can make a difference, not just in their life but also in your life. From here, stay in touch and try to be there for them.

What happens when the answer is “No”? What do you do? What do you say in that moment?

Just stay positive and be supportive. Respect that person’s right to privacy and dignity. If you think it’s serious, then it’s best you refer the issue on to a mental health care professional to help.

The national RUOK day on September 13th is a day we would like to help raise awareness for so everyone start the conversation and ask the question. But don’t let today be the only day. Whenever you feel someone might need your help, ask the question.

R U OK? It’s a question that might just save someone’s life.

To find out more on how you can support and help make a difference in someone’s life, visit www.ruok.org.au to find out how.

If you find this blog helpful, go ahead and tell your friends and share the post!