Signs you or someone you care about might be in need of help…
• Acting off. Constantly agitated, erratic, overwhelmed, aggressive or withdrawn.
• Drinking, smoking or using drugs much more frequently.
• Isolating – not attending social events and frequently cancelling plans.
• Not doing fun or healthy stuff anymore – like hobbies or exercise.
• Experienced a big life blow, e.g. lost a friend/family member, broken up with a partner, lost a job, lost a bunch of money.
• Eating and/or sleeping waaaay too often, or barely enough.
• Posting dark, erratic or alarming content onto social media.
• Certain behaviours have taken on an obsessive, all-encompassing vibe, like watching porn, having sex, exercising, over-working, etc.
• Engaging in risky behaviours, like drink driving or speeding driving drunk/high, gambling, taking heavier drugs, having heaps of unprotected sex, getting into fights.
• Mentioned or thought about suicide or self harm
How to be a good listener
• Take care of yourself.
• Pick a good moment – somewhere you both feel comfortable.
• Be ready to listen deeply and attentively. Rephrase what they’ve said in your own words to show you’re listening and to make a real effort to understand them.
• Validate their feelings and experiences with phrases like “That sounds tough” and “It’s normal to feel that way…”
• Encourage them to explore and expand on feelings with phrases like “how does that feel for you?” or “how long have you been feeling that way?”
• Don’t minimize, judge, or jump to advice-giving and problem-solving mode.
• Be prepared that they might not be ok, they might not want to talk, that you can fix everything for them.
• Check in. Stay in touch. Let them know you’re still there for them
Ways to ask RUOK? in your own way…
“I’ve noticed you haven’t seemed like yourself lately. How’s everything been going?”
“How are you really?”
“I know that things have been tough for you. How are you feeling about it all?”
“What do you want to talk about? Nothing is too big or too small…”
“I’m worried about you and I’m here for you and happy to chat about what you’re going through. Or is there someone else you might prefer to chat to about this stuff?”
“Is it okay if I call to check in on you next week? And you know you can call me whenever about anything too, if you need to talk?”
“Happiness is like being cool, the harder you try the less it’s going to happen. So stop trying. Start living.” – Mark Manson
How to help take action
• Consider how tough obstacles have been overcome in the past. “We can do hard things…”
• Ask “Last time things were difficult, what things did you do to help make it through?”
• Explore healthy ways to soothe or nurture. “What sorts of things make you feel better or help you have fun?”
• Ask how you can help, or see where in their life they might need some assistance and support and go ahead and help out (e.g. cook a meal, ask to babysit, join them for a walk or exercise class, book in a fun activity…)
• See how you might be able to help them connect with a mental health professional or some relevant resources.
Who to call…
- The Indigo Project: 9212 5469
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyond blue: 1300 22 4636
- Suicide Call back Service: 1300 659 467
- Mensline Aus: 1300 78 99 78