R U OK? Day is designed to remind us to check in on the people we care about, find out what’s going on for them in their lives and offer support and companionship. But over the years, some of the meaning has been lost and there is the risk of well-meaning questions resulting in a surface level interaction that can cause stress, stigma and shame.
So, let’s participate in this important day in a way that gives strength and support to those who need it and normalise asking the difficult (but essential) questions that can save a life.
When to ask R U OK?
- Ask R U OK? only if you are prepared for someone to say that they’re not doing ok. Consider what you might say to show you care, and how you can offer support?
- Ask R U OK? in spaces and at times that are safe and allow for conversation to occur.
- Ask R U OK? when you are prepared and able to listen to someone else’s story.
- Ask R U OK? once you know where you might guide someone for professional support (don’t worry, there’s lots of ideas at the bottom of this article!).
How do I support someone who says they’re not OK?
If someone says they’re going through a tough time, it’s sometimes hard to work out what you can do to help them (without breaking boundaries!). Here are some tips for checking in with a friend:
- Help them find the support they need – there’s tons of free wellbeing support available for La Trobe University students and staff.
- Casually ask how they’re doing regularly – a quick “hey, how’s things going with you?” can be reassuring and remind someone that you’re there for them.
- Never underestimate the power of a tiny gift or note – do they have a favourite coffee order you can surprise them with, or would they love a card with some well-chosen Taylor Swift lyrics on the inside?
- Just spending time with someone is often incredibly helpful – whether it’s studying, eating lunch or just quietly scrolling TikTok together.
Extra resources to promote your mental health:
- For curated music and sounds for focus, relaxation, and even sleep: Brain FM
- To motivate you to stay off distracting apps when you need to focus: Forest
- To manage anxiety symptoms: Clear Fear
- To manage symptoms of depression and other mood difficulties: MoodTools
Need extra info or support for you or someone else? We got you:
- Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion provide free, confidential personal emotional support for students. Fill out their form to make an appointment.
- La Trobe University Crisis Line offers free, confidential after hours support, call 1300 146 307 or text 0488 884 10 (5pm – 9am weekdays, 24 hours weekends, and public holidays).
- Safer Community offers information and support to students who have experienced or witnessed behaviour that it inappropriate or uncomfortable. Call 03 9479 8988, email firstname.lastname@example.org or report online.
- Beyond Blue provides information about mental health, access to free supports, and lots of tips to keep your wellbeing in check.
- Headspace provides resources, one-on-one or group support and interactive modules for people aged 12-25.
If you or someone else is in a mental health crisis and requires immediate support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Emergency Services on 000.