Nick Hall

How to Check in On Your Mates | Man of Many

If you’ve got a feeling that someone you know or care about isn’t behaving the way they normally would, it could be a sign of a wider issue. It’s important to act quickly and address the situation in a careful and considered way. We know that by starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up, but what happens next?

The Conversation that Could Change a Life

When it comes to having that conversation, approaching it from a place of compassion is key. After all, new research found 22% of Australians aren’t reaching out to ask ‘are you OK?’ because there hasn’t been an occasion where they felt someone needed their help. Katherine Newton, CEO of the massive mental health and stigma-shattering event R U OK? Day said mental health is something that will touch all of us in a unique and often-confronting way.

How to Ask

“Think about what it would have taken when you were in the middle of your most intense suffering for somebody to help you change it,” Dr Heer says. All they would have had to do is ask you, are you okay – in earnest, and actually be willing to listen to you and not shy away from the answer. Then that person realises there’s at least one person on the planet who is willing to be here for me with whatever I’ve got going on. That is all it takes.”

The Conversation

Following up on a serious conversation about a person’s mental health struggles can be less formal. The person now knows you are for them and willing to talk through their concerns, so your future conversations are more likely to be open and more comfortable. In many cases, the follow up can be as simple as a quick catch up, Dr Heer says.


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