At HenderCare, we wanted to recognise the importance of R U OK? Day and acknowledge the sensitivity of the topic of mental health.
To help encourage the conversation, we spoke with HenderCare psychologists Kellie McKay and Vicki Waldren about the importance of checking in with each other.
Kellie noted, “We often say to people if they need help or support to “just ask” – but people don’t always like to ask or feel comfortable doing so. We must take the time to ‘check in’ with them – not assuming that they will reach out for support.”
Vicki echoed this, saying: “This R U OK Day is a chance to think about the workmate or friend or family member that might just seem a bit different lately – a bit quieter, less likely to catch up either by phone or in-person (depending on their COVID lockdown circumstances).”
With so many of us in lockdown or dealing with several COVID-19 restrictions, looking after our mental health in these circumstances is important, particularly ensuring we connect with others and remember the importance of that connection.
Kellie touched on how people can start that process of connecting with others and remembering to be patient and kind, both to others and ourselves, during such a difficult period.
“We are encouraging people to continue to connect with others during lockdown, which might be via electronic media and being sure to continue to undertake activities (even if modified) that assist each person is looking after their health (physical, mental, social), or perhaps also learning a new hobby, activity, etc.”
Being kind to yourself is hard in lockdown, and sometimes we make assumptions that other people might be ‘coping better’ or that we ‘should be able to cope’ – be wary of this. Check-in with your own thoughts. There are options for professional support via telehealth as well as organisations such as Kids Helpline snd Lifeline, which are available 24 hours per day.”
Importantly, as Vicki emphasised, “You don’t have to have all the answers to help them, just start the conversation.”
For more information on how you can get involved, this R U OK? Day and all the resources available to assist in starting the conversation, click here.