R U OK? Day is an annual campaign run by the R U OK? organisation. Each year on 14 September, we’re encouraged to talk about our struggles and check in with family, friends, colleagues and strangers by asking - “are you okay?”
R U OK? Day shouldn’t be the only time to ask someone about how they are doing. We're encouraged to do it regularly. By asking someone if they’re okay, you’re giving them an opportunity to be transparent about their feelings or struggles. This can be the first step to seek further support and prevent what may seem like small issues from turning into bigger ones.
You never know what someone is truly going through and by asking those three simple words, you could potentially be saving someone’s life.
Children and young people are constantly faced with challenges. Those in childhood or adolescence are experiencing new things, daily and sometimes it can become overwhelming.
To help a young person feel heard and supported, you can simply ask them if they are okay. It’s important that you do not push them for answers. If they’re not ready to talk, you should let them know that you are always there for them and that there is support available should they prefer to speak to someone else.
If you know a young person is struggling or has been struggling, ensure you’re regularly checking in with them about what’s going on in their lives. Furthermore, make sure to listen to them and that they know you’re there for them.
Sometimes not all signs are obvious, and it helps to check in regardless of whether someone seems challenged or not.
Some of the common signs to look out for that may indicate a young person is struggling, include a reduced interest or enjoyment in usually fun activities, appearing withdrawn or more anxious than usual, increased irritability and frustration, increased sadness and struggling with concentration and decision making. Additionally, they may be experiencing changes in eating habits, sleeping troubles and feeling more tired or un-energetic, engaging in self-harm, or experiencing suicidal thoughts.
No one is alone. If you’re unable to confide in a close friend or family member about your challenges, seek support from a counselling service such as Anglicare Southern Queensland, or call Lifeline.
Please call our Intake Line on 1300 114 397 for more information.
For urgent or 24-hour support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. Alternatively, please call 000.