More than just one day a year, “R U OK? Day” has been a sign for Australians that we often need to check in with the mental health of others and ourselves. Unfortunately, many Australians don’t discuss their mental health, from concerns of appearing weak, vulnerable, burdensome, or that others won’t understand what they’re facing. Addressing mental health stigma is important, and simply asking others if they are ok, can allow people to see that others are aware that they may indeed be struggling, and that it’s ok to talk. There are different ways we can ask if someone’s ok, such as “how are you travelling?” or “you don’t seem yourself lately, want to talk about it?”. You might like to find a private space, where the person feels comfortable to talk.
This invitation could be life changing for someone who feels alone with their struggles. People may not ask “R U OK?” for concern of not knowing what to say next. The important thing is to first take some time to listen.
Often we can get so busy in our everyday lives that we may forget to stop for a moment and just take in what others are telling us. We don’t have to have the perfect answers for those we choose to ask, but if you’re able, just listening and perhaps asking some simple questions about their experience.
It’s important to not always jump in with our own experience or advice, and to take some time validating what this person could be going through. This might sound like “that sounds really tough, I can’t imagine how difficult this has been for you”. It’s ok to sit in silence and important not to rush this process.
You might offer some assistance if you feel able. Sometimes someone close may need some help with something simple, or something else that you feel able to help with. You might reach out with questions such as this.
Sometimes these conversations might feel difficult or overwhelming, however they can make a big difference for someone struggling. It’s ok if you don’t have what this person may need right now, you can still help encourage them to take action or seek professional help. Just listening and letting someone know they have some support can be huge. It’s important to check in again with friends regularly to see how things are going for them as well. A regular catch up, cuppa, or a walk may be just the thing someone struggling needs.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty with their mental health and feel like you are needing to delve deeper, there are many spaces in the community that can assist. Your GP can be a good start and can often provide a mental health care plan, depending on what you’re experiencing. This may allow you to receive some rebated sessions with our Cairns Psychologists or counsellor. There’s also Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636); their services are free and may be able to provide information for other local services that are free or affordable.
Wellness Embodied has two Cairns Psychologists providing services at both Mt Sheridan and Paramatta Park (Cairns). If you are wanting to work on your mental health, our Provisional Cairns Psychologists provide evidence-based therapies to work on a range of difficulties, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and interpersonal difficulties, among others. We also treat the whole person, not just the body part, and assessment and treatment of other physical conditions are available.
You can connect with the team at Wellness Embodied on phone 07 4231 9777 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options and find out how we can assist with your physical and mental health.