The Mission Statement for R U OK is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with their life circumstances. It was started in 1995 by Gavin Larkin who chose to champion just one question – “are you OK?” – to honour his father and to try to protect other families from the pain of suicide.

Asking R U OK is not just for one day in September, it’s a habit for all of us to cultivate every day of the year. Checking in on someone when we notice they might not be OK assists people to feel connected, supported and hopefully prevents them from spiralling downwards.

In addition to us as individuals checking in on the people around us, we can help create an R U OK workplace culture. An R U OK culture means that you feel comfortable asking your colleagues how they are every day. Be ready to have a chat and if they say they’re not ok – take the time to be with them to listen. Also, if you sense someone isn’t OK – reach out to them and have a chat.  

It might be that a colleague’s behaviour changes in some way. They may seem withdrawn, not their usual chatty self, they may have taken a few days off work unexpectedly or seem irritable, and if this change in behaviour continues for a week or two maybe suggest that they see their GP or make contact with their EAP Assist counsellor. Asking someone R U OK might just make a positive change in the life of others as well as in your own.

Consider using ALEC to help you start the conversation:

  • Ask: Pick the right moment and ask R U OK? in a way that feels right for you. Mention changes you’ve noticed and that you’re concerned. 
  • Listen: Listen without judgement. Don’t rush or interrupt but encourage them to explain what’s going on for them. 
  • Encourage Action: Ask what they’ve done in the past that has helped. There might be something practical you can do, or you could help them access professional support. 
  • Check in: Stay in touch after the initial conversation. Check in to ask how they’re feeling and if things have improved. Stay connected so they’ll know you’re there for them.