The R U OK campaign encourages us to check in on people who may be struggling with life and help them feel connected long before they even think about suicide.
It all comes down to regular, face-to-face, meaningful conversations about life. And asking “Are you ok?” is a great place to start.
In a professional environment, depending on your workplace culture, it may not be common practice to discuss personal issues with your colleagues or staff. But if you notice that someone seems to be out-of-sorts or struggling in some way, offering your support and asking “Are you okay?” could make an important difference to that person.
The significant challenges and difficult circumstances we have all faced over the past few years amplify the importance of staying connected and being as supportive as we can to the people in our lives.
You don’t have to be an expert to keep the conversation going when someone says they’re not OK. By knowing what to say you can help someone feel supported and access appropriate help long before they’re in crisis, which can make a really positive difference to their life.
However, when asking “Are you ok?” at work, be prepared to follow up appropriately by knowing what support services and resources are available. If someone confides that they are not okay, and you do nothing about it, you could be found negligent of your duty of care as a manager or employer.
Also, when you receive an allegation or complaint regarding a workplace incident, your first response should be to enquire whether your staff member is okay. Bypassing this gesture could again put you at risk of being found negligent of your duty of care.
The R U OK? website contains a wealth of information and resources on how to check in with your work colleague who may be struggling, including detailed instructions on how to ask.
If they say they are not ok, you can follow the conversation steps in the infographic below to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask.
Worried someone might be suicidal? Contact Lifeline for crisis support. If life is in danger, call 000.
Dealing with people and managing risks within an organisation can be complex. WorkPlacePLUS provides integrated human resource services including tools for workplace wellness.
For more information, please contact us today.