This week is National Suicide Prevention Week in Australia and today is RUOK Day, lending an ear to the people who matter in your life. Because it's a lot easier to ask someone if they're okay than it is for them to tell you they're not.
The theme for this year's RUOK Day is "You've got what it takes" to have those difficult conversations with friends and family, as it can be hard to ask those type of questions, especially among mates.
Which is why we've got a few examples here that you can ask without sounding like a dickhead. Go on, ask someone. It might mean a lot more than you realise.
1. You seem a bit less chatty that usual. How are you travelling?
2. I need a coffee. Come with me?
That gets them into a new environment where it's easier to begin a conversation.
3. You seemed distracted this morning. What's on your mind mate?
If they've told you that things aren't good, or you know times are tough, don't try to fix their problems for them. It's better that they know you're there for them. Just listen, try not to judge and let them speak. Don't rush or interrupt them.
You can also try helping them to find their own solution with questions like:
4. What have you done in the past that's been helpful?
Or just encourage them to talk more with the safe and reassuring:
5. How long have you felt that way?
And be upfront with an offer.
6. How can I support you?
You'll be fine, but if you do want an "exit strategy" during the chat or feel you need to wrap things up, firstly suggest they contact a trained professional who can help them. And to give it a positive ending, get them to do something relaxing or enjoyable that will make them feel better about themselves right away.
7. What's something you can do just for yourself right now?
For more advice and details on RUOK Day visit www.ruok.org.au