Keep Talking after Mental Health Month
As Mental Health Month comes to an end, it's important to keep talking and check-in in with your friends, family as well as colleagues you are close to. You don’t have to be an expert to support someone going through a tough time. You just need to be able to listen to their concerns without judgment and take the time to follow up with them.
A major part of communication is listening. We spend a lot of time talking about listening, and how important it is to demonstrate active listening, how important it is to “be heard”. Listening is a crucial part of what happens when you ask “R U OK?”. Being present, having empathy and risking missing out by putting down your phone and giving someone your undivided attention, is easier said than done. Yet it is fundamental in gaining understanding, having meaningful conversations and establishing or nurturing connection. It is a skill that few truly do well, but when we find a good listener, they are often a very valuable person in our lives.
Listening is so much more than just hearing, or waiting your turn to speak (without interrupting), it is an active skill. Practice active listening by paying attention, asking questions and taking in behaviours as well as what is being said out loud.
10 Tips on how to have an R U OK? Conversation
- Know your colleagues
- Approach the person
- Explain why you are having this discussion with them
- Ask R U OK?
- Do not go into solution mode
- Do not counsel the person
- Encourage the person to take action
- Ask what way you can assist
- Follow up
Don’t just leave it there, it is very important to check in with the person regularly to see if they are OK. If you need support, please reach out on 1800 650 204.