Community

Tips to ask R U Ok? from our community to yours

In our recent survey for R U Ok? Day we asked over 1,800 of our community mums:

Do you have any tips on how to help keep the connection open and ask a friend, family member or stranger you think might be struggling R U OK?

Here are some of the tips and advice our mums offered if you are trying to stay connected to your loved ones and asking them about their mental health.

R U Ok Day find support

Tips to help you check in on loved ones

 

“Being available either in person or via phone.”Lisa Sayer

“Simply that, send them a message or phone call and ask if they’re ok. But tell them that I REALLY want to know; I’m not just asking for lip service. And tell them to tell me how I can help.”Sara Klose

“Always talking. Always. So important. Even if you are quiet.”Hanna Law

“Stay present with your friends and loved ones, ask them what they need. Love them and support them with everything they need. If you can’t provide what they need then be there, no words are sometimes the greatest tool we have to support our loved ones.”Alison Plamer

“Just simply ask the person if they need help or want to talk.”Nerelle Hield

“I can only go by experience I had a breakdown and didn’t mention anything to anyone prior to that I was in a very bad way at the end of it. But since growing from my experience I recognise when things are getting on top of me and I speak with my GP as I’m most comfortable talking to her. When I feel the heavy chest, I can’t go into public and I shut everyone around me out they are my warning signs and I act now before it gets out of hand. It’s ok to ask for help there is so much help out there even if you can’t express it verbally write it down and give it to someone our loved ones want to see us happy and want to help as well.”Emily Falla

“Reaching out can be hard when you feel down. It’s important that you Acknowledge how you feel, know that’s its ok to feel how you do and then reach out to someone to talk about it. Even if it’s just a text message to a friend asking to go for a walk. Break the patterns you’re in and you will see improvement.”Kim O’Neill

“Open lines of communication Positive coping mechanisms such as reading or exercise to keep a healthy mindset.”Jayde Lindley

“Always be there for them. Whether it be to listen, or whatever. Sometimes people don’t want advice, just knowing that you’ll listen is a good step.”Rhianna Dal-cin

“Just be there let them no your always there to talk.”Jayde Wellington

“Always keep in touch and check up every now and then cause something you might not feel is stressful might be there most stressful thing.”Lauren Payne

“Offer a cuppa and a talk or even a walk and remember that just because you may have problems their problems are big to them and shouldn’t be ignored.” – Carolyn Owens

“Always let people know you are there for them.”Mel Healey

“Send a quick message even if you don’t talk often it might just help them on that day.”Cynthia Hudson

“Asking them if they need help with anything. Good karma.. compliments, small gestures. Something to make them smile and open up.”Jacinda Gower-Cahill

“Not a tip as such in my circle we are very open, however when I was working in a public location I would give compliments to people, sometimes mummas who were dealing with a cranky child. Sometimes letting some one know that a stranger see’s them can help.”Belinda Bentley

“Just ask how they’re travelling or if they need help with anything.”Kerianne Clifford

“Reach out to people and be honest or provide a way for people to vent.”Stephanie Pollock

“I would just openly ask them if they are ok!” – Katie Horlor

“I don’t because no one really ever listens anyway so I have given up on trying to reach out to those who are close to me, it’s up to me now only I can make myself happy.”Nicole Reid

“Just reach out, that simple act can have a profound effect.”Natalie Delaps

“Just be there and don’t be too nosy or intrusive. Some people who are struggling just need to know you aren’t judging them and are there for them no matter how hard they may push you away. Be consistent and be there for them. Letting them know you are there no matter what is important.”Rebekah Nichols

“Well sometimes you say/do thinks at the right time even if you don’t consciously know it. I try to always be outwardly grateful and humble and sometimes just thanking someone sincerely and telling them how much you appreciate them is the positive message they need to feel better, open up, and in one case it saved their life. That day my student was going to commit suicide. Two years later she came back to me and said you saved my life because you smiled, said how great an effort I’d made and asked if I was ok. Let’s be grateful to be alive!!!”Valery Wells

“Yes, my friend and I have agreed that if we need each other or need some assistance – our code word is “I need a cup of tea””Jenni Jeremy

“It’s OK to not be OK. I talk about my experiences (past and/or present) and encourage others to talk about what they are currently going through. We’re so often taught to not show our vulnerabilities, but if the people around us don’t know about our situations they may be inadvertently adding to the burden.”Anita Ramos

“Try to communicate.”Marieke Marshall

“So my tips would be:

  1. If u think something may b wrong with a family member, friend or stranger. Ask if they r ok?
  2. Listen
  3. Support them
  4. Encourage them to seek help if needed.
  5. Don’t judge them
  6. Keep in touch with them. Check up on them.
  7. Make sure they R OK!!!”

Nicky Grehan

“Communication ask if they are ok. look for behavioural changes and let them know you have noticed and if there are any problems that you are here for them.”Sarah Hansen

“Text and message them and call.”Margaret Catania

“Keep talking to people. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of shutting yourself off from people when things are stressful. We don’t want to feel like we are burdening other people who have their own stressors. Talk to people, chat to people. Sometimes we just need a listening ear and another perspective.”Zoe Vardy

“I find a kind smile and eye contact can encourage someone to speak to you.”Georgina Olen

“I would say to someone to just keep an eye on someone and if they seem down to just be there ask them for coffee and just let them talk. And to also don’t rubbish someone’s feelings no matter how insignificant something may seem to you; to the other person it is big issue.”Caeron Bennett

“I have the Its ok not be ok sticker on the back of my car and I make sure that I tell everyone that I’m here for any reason at all.”Leshae Reese

“Sure, ask if U R OK but just put yourself in that person’s shoes. Assume what might be going on not so you know what to say, but how to say it.”Maria Karavelas

“Always stop and ask. Keeping your body language open and approachable.”Jacki Gray

“I find their interest and talk to them about it. Then I say you look happy when you talk about this, are you happy in general?”Rachel Abbott

“By making the effort to communicate often so that when you need to talk to them the barriers are already partially down.”Simone Jansen

“Kind gestures Never giving up even when they push u away Keeping conversations real and be in the moment with them Being honest with your own failing to show it’s ok to feel like you’re not coping.”Sharon Sealey

“I keep my close friend and my mum informed when I am feeling particularly down mentally and they help support me through it, either by offering extra support via communication or by assisting with the children whilst I address my own mental health. Being a single mum of three it’s important for me to have that line of support open with people I can trust and who care about me! – Naomi Moore

“You have to be ready to open up. You have to find someone you feel comfortable with opening up to, and it could be a stranger, doesn’t have to be someone you know. I felt more comfortable with a stranger I met. I did meditating with a counsellor and now I can try it on my own, even just listening to music with headphones when I don’t feel right. Or now that its all out in the open I call my husband or kids for a few minutes if I feel down and just listen to their voice. You just have to let it all go with someone you can trust and not be scared to tell the truth. I made that decision that no matter what I will be honest with my doctor and tell him what is going on honestly, no hiding anything.”Kathryn Lambert

“Just be open and honest with them and tell them that you have noticed that they don’t seem like themselves and you want to check that they are ok. Also make yourself available for that person to open up.”Melissa Culshaw

“Offer them a just one whole day in your week or weekend to go have lunch or walk along nature without partners or kids and ask how they are feeling and ask how they need help its those small things that make a difference not feeling alone a simple day can change a whole world and i wish i had that from someone and recently I’m lucky enough someone did offer me one day out there busy life.”Kylie Togolini

“Be there for the people around you. Touch base often. Make time for people – coffee morning tea lunch go for a walk. Life is too short to not care and love.”Bree Johnson

“Talk about your own struggles a little and thank them for listening, that it has helped they might be more comfortable with opening up to you then.”Charmaine Ellis

“Less social media more real life connection.”Renee Symes

“Make sure they are aware that you are there, you wont judge and anything they tell you is in confidence – trust is key for people who are not okay.”Rebecca Rogers

“I have suffered with anxiety and depression since the young age of 17 and take medication daily.It’s okay not to be okay and talk to anyone saying something to anyone is better than letting it brew and explode. It’s the little things that can help and if medication is required then that’s ok too . You are definitely not alone.”Michelle White

“Face to face contact is the only thing helps. Building friendship with people so you can ask if they are ok. Social media allows people to say they are but they really are not ok.”Kathryn Drougas

“Just ask, be sensitive to others, I know friends who are struggling, they always say “It’s all good”. I know it isn’t because that’s what I say. Everyone feels down at some time or another, and that’s ok.”Michelle Black

“Try and stay present and stay connected. You know your friends & family and if something seems off listen to your gut and check in with them. Sometimes asking R U OK is mute because 9 times out of 10 we all automatically just say Yep I’m fine even when we’re not. So send a lovely txt, make a quick call or pop in for a cuppa. Remind them that your always there no matter what. Let them know your thinking of them and that they matter to you. Sometimes that’s all we need is to know we matter to someone.”Karen Norman

“Walking is my go to so if I think someone is struggling I will suggest a big walk and talk together.”Julie Robinson

“Keep in constant contact. Never ask only once – you’ll be told ‘I’m fine’ and the person you asked will be left feeling like you didn’t even care in the first place. Always check in repeatedly.”Megan Bond

“Always ask if there ok, watch there body language as most often they tell you there ok but may not be, look for other signs they might be putting out.”Jennifer Nielsen

“Read between the lines of things they say or things they post online. Privately message them if I notice anything or get a gut feeling that they’re not ok and offer some help.”Hannah Fitzpatrick

“I think it’s important to be real about how you’re going and the struggles of being mum, but so often we just show each other the good bits, which doesn’t really help anyone!”Michelle Eudey

“Just do something they enjoy with them and broach the subject gently, but also firmly. Create a safe space for them to be open and make sure they are comfortable. Let them know that You are always open to helping them and don’t ever brush them off.”Colleen Fraser

“Tell them the changes you have noticed in them to start a conversation. Sometimes i don’t think people are aware of it. I had health tests done telling me i was stressed but i didn’t think i was. I think we’ve been programmed to automatically answer ‘yes’ when someone asks if we are ok? Or how are you? ‘Good’ without even thinking. I think the key is to ask questions that gets the person to really think about their own feelings. Take them for coffee or go for a walk ask them what they need. They may not know straight away as they’ve probably spent years putting others needs first and have forgotten how to connect with their own feelings. Give them a special treat or outing to remind them that they matter and are valued.”Te Pine Aroha Pearson

“I find it’s best to catch up in a neutral location, preferably somewhere peaceful outside, where there are no distractions and we can just chat, relax and have a coffee together – no kids, no chores, no technology!”Isabel Giltrap

“Regular contact and conversation. Some people can be offended at the suggestion that something might be wrong and they aren’t coping, so if you are in regular contact with them you will notice any ‘real’ changes that are cause for concern and with that, you have established that trusting relationship with that person that they will be willing to seek help with you by their side supporting them through a tough time.”Michelle Hansen

“I think a good tip would be ask them if their ok and if they talk then listen but if they dont just keep an eye on them and be their and dont push them too hard because then i find rhey shut down. It might be embarrassing for a women whose a mum to admit they need help like their looking at it as a sign of weakness or bad parenting if they need help.”Tegan Palmer

“Remain approachable and let them know that even though you may seem busy all the time, you have time for them. Grab a quick bite to eat, one on one – in case they do feel embarrassed about opening up in front of an audience. Reassure them that if they’re feeling down, that that’s okay and help them work on a way to add some positives into their life.”Jessica Davis

“Just don’t give up on someone please and keep on asking/ visiting/calling even if they say they’re ok.”Courtney Newman Comeadow

“Don’t be afraid of the answer- just ask and not just ‘hey how are you going’ make a real emphasis on how are you doing so they know you are really listening.”Renee Drover

“I can’t help my self this I know… but I am always ready to help out someone who is struggling with what ever the issue may be, I ask r u ok every time I speak to or see them. I put into action what ever it may be they need, even if it’s a silent phone call or a shoulder to cry on with out saying a word.. honestly just be there, be prepared for anything, be aware, be present in the moment and just love them even harder than you did yesterday xx”Rory Walker

“Don’t just ask R U OK? Pop by for a visit and offer to help in any kind of way. Whether it’s making a few meals and freezing them or giving the other person a break every now and then. Helping the other person to give them time for self care so they can re-energise themselves and be a better person. Talk to them without judgement and just be there. It’s the small things that count the most. A friendly smile, a compliment can make someone’s day so much better. Checking in on your friend/family member can make a world of difference for somebody. A small gesture to you, can mean something big for the other person struggling. I wish I had someone like that in my life but I shut everyone out and it’s my fault but I wish they’d fought for me and just told me to snap out of it in a nice way.”Marilyn Fayad

“Asking isn’t always enough. Mostly, you answer the question as “I’m fine” because you are too scared to reach out or you know the person asking doesn’t actually care. People need to genuinely be compassionate and open the door to others and not be afraid if the answer is “No. I’m not ok.” They need to be willing to listen and help…saying the words doesn’t mean you intend on following through. And that is what hurts more and what we fear the most. That noone actually cares.”Marissa Taylor

“If you notice a change in them, ask. Talk with them, sometimes guys aren’t forthcoming so make it less full on – chat while driving or walking, go for a drink or fishing, kicking the footy, anything to take the pressure off. My best friend saw me going downhill and spoke to her gp friend – she made me an appointment and took me herself. I don’t know if she realises that she saved me by doing that.”Lia Matthews

“Social media helps but I think organising to catch up with friends where you can talk one on one is great and a great way to check in on them and ask them. Being open yourself will encourage others to be open.”Sally Downie

“I’ve found that sometimes when I’m going through a low I don’t want to talk because I’m not ready but just hearing people ask helps so much and lately when people ask what’s going on I’ll say what’s going on, most of the time we don’t want to bother people with our problems or it comes off as just an obligation so ask it with meaning and if you think something is wrong don’t give ask again.”Kendel Graham

“I decided to reach out to friends at work, or my best friend and we would go for coffee and chat. It’s hard taking that first step, but that is always the hardest step to take. But also knowing that we can reach out to friends and family to get the help we need.”Louise Bell

“Breaking down the stigma, like this campaign heaps a lot. It’s so helpful to see that your not the only one struggling. It’s always amazing that this groups offers the level of support it does; what a community!”Lee Swann

“If you havent herd from someone in a while, whether it be a friend or not. Check in with them, smile at them, say hello. The smallest actions and gestures could make someones day.”Nicole Dunbar

“I think sometimes not asking too many questions is the key. Just being available. Being a good listener without pressure. Not offering advice or opinions. Just let the person get whatever it is out and off their mind. It is such a relief just to be able to share how you are feeling. Trust is very important. Without trust communication stops.”Samantha Johnston

“I guess i always feel happier when others seem to care, are friendly and want to chat. Just smiling at someone and always being kind can help give someone else happiness. And finding something that makes you happy can help. I like playing music and dancing with my boys around the house.”Cassie White

“It’s important to remember that it’s not weak to speak. As someone who suffered silently with an eating disorder for years, I now know that speaking up is always best, especially for self care. R U OK is such an important question, and I think coming straight out and asking is a good way to check up on a loved one. Make sure you keep them in your sights, and include them in your life and make sure they’re loving themselves as much as they can.”Erinn Potter

“I am open with people about how I feel, if I’m tired or struggling. They generally then open up about how they are once they realise others feel the same way as they do. The more you chat about things the more they see that most people struggle with situations or life in general and they aren’t alone in feeling how they do and that it’s ok not to be ok and to get help and to talk about it.”Nadia Oreshkin

“Just reach out and ask, as sometimes people can feel desperately alone (especially Mums, who are expected to have it all together). It doesn’t have to be those words specifically but just start a conversation and check in with them.”Kimberley Soltyszewski

“Notice their behaviours, are they withdrawing, saying they are fine when they aren’t or just tired? Let them know you care, by dropping in, sending a text, organise a casual dinner out and listening to understand not respond.”Sarah Florey

“Be available, be empathetic and understanding. Listen and be present with that person. Focus on what they are saying and let them know they aren’t alone. Also following up – be reliable and trustworthy – loyal.”Tiffany Van Gemeren

“I take it slow and steady. Dont rush into anything as that person may be feeling bad enough. Sometimes all they need is a listening ear and sometimes they need outside help from therapy etc. But dont push them towards anything. They need to know its ok to talk, and not feel pressured into doing something they dont want to do.”Reenee Seare

“Never shut the door to communication. Listen. Offer advice (if you have it and they ask for it). Sometimes just not say anything and let your friend/ family member just vent. Some situations don’t require words or advice, just require a listening ear. Ask how they are but don’t push them in to talking – they will feel uncomfortable and back off. Wait for them to come to you and listen – it’s an honour when someone tells you that they are struggling. Don’t judge the person or their situation – we are all walking our own journeys.”Miriam Harris

“Just remember we are all human. We all suffer from our own stresses and demons. Stop trying to compete with others and portray to the world how perfect you are.” – R U Ok Day

“Take them out for coffee, send them a care package, be that flowers, chocolate, gift pack or create my own with home cooked food/desserts, face masks etc, take them out to the movies and lunch -send a card with motivational messages and reasons for self-worth.”Mandy Leslie

“I think the important thing is to be genuine when you ask. You need to be 100% available. You need to have time. You don’t just ask and accept their response of, “I’m fine.” What does ‘fine’ mean? A friend of mine once told me, you have two ears and one mouth. This means you need to listen twice as much as you speak. And I think this is particularly relevant when you’re trying to communicate with someone who may be in a crisis situation. They don’t want advice. They don’t want you to cut them off. They don’t want you to tell them everything’s ok. They just want someone to listen to them and actually hear what they’re saying. And if what they’re saying is scary, you need to be prepared to actively seek assistance for them. After all that, you need to check in regularly. This shows you actually care about them. It also means if they start sliding backwards again, you’ll be able to step in and help. And they’ll trust you to do that because you’ve been there the whole time.”Kylie Parsonson

“Step 1. Ask. R U OK? (there is never a ‘good time’, nor bad time)
Step 2. Ask again. Slip it into a conversation.
Step 3. If you think there is a serious worry that they need help, book an appointment with a GP for them. Sometimes it is that first step that is the hardest. NOTE: Ensure you keep the communication line open, especially if you feel they are trying to shut others out. Even if they are mean/rude/distant/unwelcoming, keep showing up.”
Penelope Colman

“Approaching people with calm and empathy. If I’m concerned about someone I’ll be honest and say what I’ve observed. I often start the conversation by saying “I’ve been thinking about you ….” and take it from there.”Leigh Bailey

“To genuinely ask and ask at least 3 times. Are you okay? Yeah sure. Okay but really are you okay? Yeah, I guess. Seriously are you okay? No. Keep asking until they understand you really care and you’re asking because you care and want to help/support.”Rachael Clifton

“Continue to be available spend time with them even if they are less fun than Eeyore.”Clare

“Do some research into mental health on the internet there are so many helpful articles that can help to support someone struggling… continue to support them even if they say they don’t need it, people who are suffering have a great way of pushing people away.”Mel Squire

“I personally find that by sharing my own experiences on events and activities in my life that have made me question whether I was ok and then asking ‘R U OK? ‘ It reduces the loneliness and makes others more comfortable about opening up because you already have.”Casey Rech

“Don’t get into the mindset of they haven’t tried to get in touch with me so why should I. This is how you lose touch with people and you then won’t know if they r ok.”Kristy Young

“Get out of your own bubble and be aware of the people around you. Don’t just ask either, you have to genuinely care. If you don’t you could make things worse. Sometimes recognizing that someone is feeling low you can offer kindness and positive reinforcements to them on a daily basis. I find that makes people feel noticed and valued and makes a huge difference. People should just be kind to others regardless but people are ignorant and cruel, unfortunately.”Sarah Dart

“Start by telling them that there is no judgement and they can tell you whatever they want. Be a good listener and don’t try and solve all their problems for them. Just be available and in the movement and make sure they know that when the conversation is over there is still no judgement and total understanding.”Renee Hobden

“Keep things positive, even if they are in a really bad way. Don’t tell them things will be ok or that they just need to get out and go for a walk, because you don’t know if they are struggling with intense anxiety. Notice if someone is quiet or seeming to not check in/be around as much. Notice if someone is seeming controlled by someone else. Above all, ask if your friends are ok and actually listen. Really listen.”Danielle Reeve-Fowkes

“It’s hard with how quickly life moves these days but no matter how long it’s been since you have seen someone or how often you do see them it can be the smallest things and they can be passed off as something else. Like someone always bailing on plans with friends/family some might say they are just being rude but really it might be their mind that’s not allowing them to come some might call it lazy but it’s just their mentality on how they think everything will be. Mental health is serious and the triggers and signs can be so different for everyone but the smallest changes from what was their normal if noticed by close people to them can be the difference between how they work their way through where their mind is at right now. And last but not least it’s not hard to ask ‘ R U OK’ if you even think something could be challenging them!”Zoe Fell

“Put your feelings aside and keep trying. If they keep declining your invites, not responding to your txts or phone calls, don’t stop….. Keep messaging, keep calling and keep inviting you never know 1 more ‘reach out’ could be the one that gets through. I’m also a sucker for a strong, empathetic, sincere HUG. If I notice someone acting differently around me but I’m not sure what to ask or say… I give them a hug, usually, it ends in tears, a venting conversation and a clear mind for both of us. Too many of us have been touched in someway by suicide, some unlucky people more than once. Giving someone a Hug and asking R U OK? Is one easy thing we can ALL do to help. Remember to NEVER give up trying to get through & ALWAYS love & forgive unconditionally. R U OK?”Shaylea Bailey

“Sometimes you need to lead into the R U OK question, some people don’t want to disclose that, no I’m not ok, straight away. Asking what they’ve been up to, or a random question like “hey is your car red, I think I saw you parked at the shops, sorry I didn’t say hi” can often be a good intro into R U OK? Or the more direct approach, hey I’ve noticed you seem a little down “R U OK?””Shelley Duke

“Nowadays, we have so many different methods of communication. A phone call, text, social media. All it takes is for you to reach out with one of those methods and ask, “Hey, how are you going? R U OK? I am here to talk to if you need”. Always make sure you yourself are in the right frame of mind to actually listen to that person should you ask this question. Because the last thing someone who is struggling needs is someone who talks over them or tries to interject their story or opinion. Quite often that person just needs someone to listen to them. So yes, ask the question. But also be prepared to really listen. Tell them it’s ok not to be ok and leave judgment at the door because we are all human and we all have troubling times and we all need support and help to get through life. Recently I went through something very overwhelming and reached out to a support group on Facebook. After chatting with members of this particular group I honestly felt better. Sometimes even advice and just having someone read your troubles and telling you-you’re not alone and they can relate can make a big difference. So use all tools you can and always makes time to offer your support, because one day you’ll need that support too.”Jenna Knight

“Open, gentle honesty. Just because I’m happy to talk with them about their feelings/experiences it doesn’t mean they’re ready to. Depending on the person as to whether we chat in person or on the phone. Simply stating that I’ve noticed they’ve been a bit flat or something similarly gentle. Awaiting their response then following up with a considered R U Ok? Following their desire to talk or not talk. Sometimes just hanging out is as much as they need/want.”Jess Schmidl

“Tell them what you’ve noticed about them. Frame it in terms of your concerns eg “hey, I’m a bit worried about you. You haven’t seemed like your normal bubbly self lately. Are you feeling ok?” Sometimes talking about your own struggles and what has been helpful can open the conversation for others to share their difficulties to and give hope that things can get better.”Ruth Meaney

“A regular coffee date to vent any stresses out. Listening to their issues without forcing an opinion onto them. Organising to walk and talk with them as an escape outlet. By sensitively suggesting things like GP help if you can see they’re seriously struggling.”Belinda Blackwell

“Reading signs. Picking up on body language and other unusual traits about them. Sometimes you don’t need to ask, but quietly doing something nice for somebody can be enough to brighten thier day.”Amy Barden

“If your gut instinct tells you something is off – check in with them/talk to them or those closest to them/follow up. We have lost too many wonderful family members and friends to suicide. So now I won’t hesitate to do whatever needs to be done if it means possibly saving a life and saving another family from what we went through. Speak up! It’s the only way.”Melissa Powell

“Take them outdoors in nature on their own, no kids or partner around, buy them a warming cup of tea or coffee, have a picnic and ask them. I find asking this question is done well when it’s done in nature/in the sun/under trees.”Jaharn Giles

“Often people will open up when you go for a drive together. There’s no pressure to talk but things just seem to flow and because the driver is concentrating on driving often that makes for better listening; an added bonus, the kids will fall asleep too. So ask your friend or family member to go for a drive with you. Also, if you open up to people about your own struggles, they will often trust you enough to open up too. So be open and trustworthy. If you see a stranger that you sense is struggling, ask them if you can help in any way, like carrying their shopping. Tell them that they are doing a good job, especially if it’s a mother with screaming kids. A kind word can go a long way :)”Emma Long

“Remember to look after yourself too. It’s important that you are feeling good yourself so you can support others. Listen with an open mind and without judgement. Encourage the person to take action: “how can I help/support you?” Share your own experiences: “this has helped me/it may help you … ” Check in frequently, after a couple of days/weeks: “how have you been / how are things now?” , “I’ve been thinking of you, how have things been going since we last spoke?” Staying im touch with the person and be there for them by checking on them regularly. Showing care and concern towards someone can make a difference in someone’s life.”Sarah Papdopoulos

“Being honest about your own struggles helps people open up About theirs. Being non-judgemental and understanding, open and calm helps people answer honestly and open up.”Shannon Rollings

“Let them know that you always have time for them. That they can talk to you about anything. Start to tell them about how you truly feel to show that you trust them and in turn, they can trust you etc. When you ask someone if they are ok, don’t just settle for the “I’m fine answer” ask them how work is, How their partner is, How their mum is etc and you will generally find out where in their life they are struggling. Encourage them to speak to someone, if they dont like talking face to face them Encourage them to call life line and remain anonymous.”Kristy Douglas

“Showing empathy, genuine interest and reminding them that they are loved. And by asking those 3 simple words … ARE YOU OK?”Amanda Oliver

“I regularly complement people I see on how they are handling situations, for example, an adult with a toddler at the shops etc. I walk up to people who are looking a little sad and ask if I can help them with anything or with the task they are doing. I have an open door rule at work. Where any teacher or student can come and talk to me about anything that’s on there mind. I use essential oils and share them with people I interact with daily. This helps lift there mood etc.”Diana Badaui

“In my line of work I can tell how people are feeling and sometimes people just need someone to notice that they are there. For my friends, I will call and just listen when they pour all their problems out and together we look at every possible angle of a situation to try to find a solution. For strangers, a simple “hello, how’s your day” could change everything for them.”Christina Dellacamera

“I’m an empath so can generally feel when people are struggling. I just ask – R U OK? I let them know I’m always here to listen, no judgement, no fixing, I just listen and let them get whatever is bothering off their chest. Always happy to offer some advice if they want it.”Pam Donald

“Mental health problems are still very taboo in our society, so getting past the stigma is important. Just a simple ‘Thinking of you x’ sent as a text can be enough to get someone to reach out. I’m very awkward with grief and sadness, but if I can see someone struggling, I’ll still let them know I’m here, and they know they can talk to me.”Taysha Burns

“Be honest. Don’t shut yourself away even if it’s a text every few days. I will ask if they are ok, or even just come over and help with their housework if they are feeling overwhelmed.”Jessica Newman

“When others see you doing well and looking like u have it all together, that can make them feel worse. So don’t pretend ur life is perfect, talk openly and honestly about ur daily struggles as it makes others see you as approachable and it opens the door to a mutual connection of support for you both/all. This way, u don’t have to wait for a national day to make sure others are ok, you can turn to each other as soon as you need someone.” – Katrina Volkerts

  1. “Make sure you’re ready. Ensure you are in a good headspace, that you are ready to listen and be able to give the time needed.”
  2. “Be prepared for a response “I’m not ok” or that the person is not ready to discuss an issue.”
  3. “Before asking the question make sure the time and place is appropriate.”
  4. “Listen without judgement, don’t rush or interrupt the conversation. Show you have listened by repeating what you’ve heard in your own words and ask the person if you’ve understood what they have said.”
  5. “Encourage action by asking what actions in the past have helped, ask how you can help and/or offer tips on strategies that you personally used to help get through a difficult time.”
  6. “Check in with the person by letting them know you’ve been thinking of them and wanted to know how they are since the last chat. This is a great time to schedule in a coffee or lunch date!”

Emma-Jade Sibraa

“Being too blunt can be confronting for someone who doesn’t open up. Ask if they want a coffee and just ask general questions about their life things will flow as they become more comfortable.”Teagan Blines

“Don’t approach it while they’re in a busy environment, they’ll only be embarrassed or get defensive. Make sure you both have time to sit and have a good chat and understand that they may not be ready to talk. If you can relate try not to steer the conversation back to how you know what its like constantly- it just feels like a competition. But most importantly just tell them you are there if they ever need you.”Simone Arkley

“Don’t wait for them to come to you, people hide behind the “no I’m ok” sentence when they may in fact not be ok. Always make yourself available just be there for someone, visit, be in the moment too many of us are trapped online not really connecting to each other so put those phones down a person to person visit can go a long way.”Melissa Brunning

“I go to a weekly playgroup and check in with the other mums about how we have been going the past week. If I notice one of my Mummy friends looks like they are struggling, I try and find a quiet moment away from others to ask if they are okay. If I’m struggling myself I make sure I let someone close to me know and get them to keep me accountable with taking time out and increasing my self-care. I ask a friend or family member to look after one of the younger kids for me so I can have a break. I book in an extra day of childcare for my two little ones so I can have some breathing space.”Sarah Jane Moog

“I think being real and open about your own struggles and feelings really helps build communication even between strangers (not just friends and family). Being supportive and encouraging of people is key. Whether that be encouraging words (like a bit of a pep talk or letting them know they’re not alone in their struggles), or helping to ease their load by asking them what might help (and making suggestions, like taking time out), and being there for them in a practical way. Let them know you’re there for a chat and offer to do something. For them.”Hayley Warner

“Keep asking.”Rachael James

If you feel depressed or are suffering from depression and or anxiety, we advise you to seek help from your GP or call Lifeline 13 11 14, Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia [PANDA] 1300 726 306 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36.

Join our community of supportive mums!

If you are wanting to get that bit of extra support in your journey to better health come and join our community of over 1.5 million mums.

Join us online now!

jodiehumphries
written by:

Jodie Humphries

Jodie is a beach-loving dog mum from the Mid North Coast of NSW now based in the Northern Beaches. She loves nothing more than to empower women to live a happier healthier lifestyle.