Picture: iSTOCK
Picture: iSTOCK

How to ask someone ‘R U OK?’

IT'S time to join the conversation about suicide prevention on R U OK day 2018. With one simple chat you could save a life so here's how you can start the conversation with your friends, family and co-workers and ask 'R U OK?'


It's important to make sure you're in a position to listen before asking someone else if they're OK. Ask yourself if you're prepared to give as much time as needed to the other person. If you feel like you're ready to help them, make sure to pick the right moment. When asking a friend if they're OK, make sure you've picked a private and comfy place to ask. Don't put them on the spot if they're strapped for time or in a noisy public place.




Be relaxed and friendly when asking if someone is OK. Try phrasing the question openly, like "How are you going?" or "What's been happening?" to help them open up. If they don't want to talk, it's fine to let them know you're concerned about their recent behaviour and that you care about them. Let them talk at their own pace, and remind them you're available to chat when they feel up to it.

Take what they say seriously and don't rush them. Encourage them to explain by asking things like "How are you feeling about that?" or "How long have you felt that way?" You want your conversation to be a judgment-free zone, so it's OK to stay quiet and listen to their experience.


Cairns Hospital RU OK day walk 2016 Picture: Justin Brierty
Cairns Hospital RU OK day walk 2016 Picture: Justin Brierty

It's important to let them know they have your support, and encourage them to take action. After you've had a chat, set yourself a reminder to contact them again in a couple of weeks to catch up. Stay in touch with them, as genuine concern and care will make a world of difference to someone in a bad headspace. Be sure to check out RUOK for more details on asking 'R U OK?'

If you are worried someone might be suicidal contact Lifeline for crisis support. If life is in danger, call 000.

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