The campaign encourages people to ask “are you OK?” and have more conversations in our workplaces and communities. You may notice a colleague is more tired or is less talkative than usual. You may notice that they are not meeting their deadlines or avoiding social activities they used to enjoy. If you think something is up, choose a time and place that is relatively private, and start the conversation.
You can simply ask, “What’s been happening?” to get the person to open up. You can let them know that you’ve noticed some changes and you are concerned for them. Whatever they do answer with, listen without judging. It may be tempting to jump in with a solution, but it is better to listen to their story. You can respond with, “That sounds difficult” and “How can I help?”
The next step is offer support to help improve their situation. Depending on the circumstance, you can recommend they see their GP or call a counsellor. Your workplace may have an Employee Assistance Program that they can contact. If it’s something that has happened at work that is causing their distress, you may need to talk to your manager.
We can all play a part in the office by creating a culture where people feel open enough to ask and answer the question. It is invaluable to give someone the opportunity to tell us how they are feeling.
For more on the campaign and resources for your workplace, visit the RU OK? website.
If you are struggling to cope and need to speak to a counsellor, call one of our free services.