1. Reserve judgement
If someone chooses to open up to you, it is because they trust you and they trust that you will respond in an empathetic and helpful manner. So, even if you are surprised that they decided to speak to you, it is important that you don’t react in a judgemental way.
This means not being dismissive or belittling of what someone is going through even if it sounds trivial to you.
2. Listen carefully
It is a big step for most people to admit that they are not okay and it crucial that you do not brush them off and make time to listen to their story.
In fact, even if you can’t empathise with how someone is feeling, sometimes all people need is a sounding board and someone that is safe for them to vent to, in a healthy way.
Furthermore, if for some reason you have time to listen, make sure that you make an effort to pick up the conversation at another point in time.
3. Offer to help them seek help
While it is awesome to lend a friendly ear to someone when they open up, it is also important to ask whether they have sought out or need help seeking out the help of a mental health clinician. Keep in mind that one of the reasons that they may not have chatted to a mental health clinician before is because they didn’t know where to look or how to get started. In this case you can direct them to contact the mental health clinicians at TIACS (a service that TradeMutt proudly funds through the sale of workwear) on 0488 846 988, as this is a service that has removed the physical and financial barriers that often get in the way of people seeking help.
4. Check in regularly
Once R U OK Day is over, make a conscious effort to check in with your mate or loved one that reached out on a regular basis. Keep it casual and private, the most important thing is that they know that you care and are a safe person to talk to. You might even find that by building this relationship that you can lean on them if you need.
If this article has raised any mental health issues for you, the TIACS support line is available Monday to Friday, from 9AM - 5PM on 0488 846 988. Find out more at tiacs.org