Today is RU OK? Day, a chance to start a conversation with a mate who is struggling to cope.
If you’ve noticed your mate is avoiding social activities or is being less talkative than usual, trust your gut instinct and ask them how they are going.
Getting ready to ask a question as simple as, “What’s been happening?” can be nerve-racking. To help you get in that space, be ready to listen to their answer without judging and find a comfortable and relatively private place to talk.
Once you ask, “How are you going?”, you can follow-up with the reasons you are concerned about them. For example, you can say, “You aren’t talking much these days. Is something bothering you?”
Your mate may not want to talk just yet. If that’s the case, just let them know that you are there for them when and if they do want to talk.
If your mate tells you that he is having problems, listen and ask, “How can I help you?” You can encourage him to do something that he might enjoy or is relaxing. If he has been feeling sad or down for two weeks or more, encourage him to seek professional help. He can see his GP or call a counselling service like MensLine.
Remember that you should continually check in with your mate. This shouldn’t be a one-off conversation; your genuine concern can make a difference.
MensLine Australia is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with professional counsellors providing information and support for all emotional health and relationship issues.