R U OK? Day: Ask, listen, encourage, and take action to make a difference.

Home » R U OK? Day: Ask, listen, encourage, and take action to make a difference.
Close friends looking after each other by asking R U OK? on the R U OK? Day for mental well being, Mental health doctors Coffs Harbour

About R U OK Day

R U OK? is a national suicide prevention campaign that inspires every Australian to make time for the ones who matter to them and create meaningful connections with anyone who may be struggling in their life.

This campaign aims to build a more connected world through conversation and promote a sense of community whilst we help each other at difficult times.

Held annually, R U Ok? Day inspires all to reconnect with those whom we have lost touch with and ask the important question – R U Ok?

There’s more to say after R U OK?

2020 has seen one of the most unusual global events causing unprecedented challenges for almost everyone. This year’s message “There’s more to say after R U OK?” is a reminder to take one step further in driving a conversation that can save someone’s life.

It is even more important now to stay connected, show genuine concern, listen and encourage others to speak up and put your efforts towards supporting them through their rough time.

Learn the conversation

A man asking R U OK? to close friends during R U OK? Day to check on their mental health, Mental Health Doctors Coffs Harbour

Before you ask ‘R U OK?’, there are certain things to learn and incorporate during your conversation. It is important to remember that apart from showing concern, you need to make time to listen, encourage certain actions and be willing to follow up or even find the right person in your support network to talk to the person in need.

Here are 4 important things to remember to navigate our conversation

Getting ready to ask

We need to be in a positive headspace before we start a conversation. More importantly, we must be genuinely interested in helping that person and willing to extend a helping hand if they want. A great way to start this is by asking ourselves if we are willing to put the time and effort in doing so.

Ask yourself:

  1. Am I ready to help?
  2. Can I devote time?
  3. Do I notice any specific things that make me concerned for them?
  4. Do I have a private space where we can talk with any interruption?
  5. When do I ask and where?

Take time to listen and let others talk

Start the conversation by mentioning a concern. If you can identify or notice any specific change in someone’s behaviour or even their physical health, you can start the conversation by mentioning that.

Take all the time to listen to them and allow them to finish what they have to say. Don’t rush the conversation and even when you’re tempted to talk, never interrupt. An open conversation will make the other person feel more confident and build trust. Encourage them to talk more with open-ended questions like: How are you feeling now?

Encourage action

Talk about how self-care activities can be helpful and help them to build trust in professionals. Early intervention by experts really makes a difference. Be positive when you talk about professionals and give them the choice of any support services that are available.

Encourage them to visit their local GP’s who can be a great primary support.

Stay in touch and be remindful

Stay in touch regularly after your initial conversation. Keep a reminder in your calendar to call them or visit them if necessary. Ask them if they are seeking help from professionals and ask them if they have found any better way to overcome their condition.

Follow up every couple of weeks and let them know that you are here to help.

GP’s for mental health first aid

GP’s are well-trained in applying early medical intervention that includes consultation, medication and referral to specialists to protect people at risk of developing mental health. 

We should play a role in encouraging someone we know who is struggling with their mental health to seek expert help. 

GP’s play an important role in suicide prevention by identifying people at risk and ensuring that the right help is provided at the right time. 

If you know anyone who is struggling with ups and downs in their life, extend a helping hand. You can also consult our GP’s who will help you or your loved ones achieve the best mental health. 

Book online for an appointment or alternatively call us at  (02) 6652 5322 for further information.


Northside Health acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First People and Traditional Custodians. We value their cultures, identities, and continuing connection to country, waters, kin and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and are committed to making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, by providing services that are welcoming, safe, culturally appropriate and inclusive.

Northside Health is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services and welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.