R U OK? is calling on all of us to let the people you care about know you’re here, to really hear them.
By taking the time for an R U OK? conversation and genuinely listening with an open mind, we can all help the people in our world feel supported and connected.
R U OK? Day 2023 is Thursday 14 September and is a national day of action to remind Australians that every day is the day to ask, ‘are you OK?’ and start a meaningful conversation whenever they spot the signs that someone they care about might be struggling with life.
R U OK? research has underscored the impact a genuine conversation can have on someone who is struggling with life.
The research found more than four in five people who engaged in a meaningful conversation felt better about managing their situation having talked it through and felt supported, heard, and safe during the conversation.
However, the research also found that when asked if they were OK, two in five people (38%) who said they were OK actually were not OK. These respondents told us that important factors to encourage an honest conversation are:
- Trust: they need to know the person they speak to is someone they trust, and, for many, someone they are close to
- Authenticity: they want to know the person asking them genuinely wants to hear answer
- Environment: people would prefer to have these conversations in a relatively private space with enough time to share what they want to say.
R U OK? Community Ambassador, Anthony Gagliardi understands first-hand the importance of having an authentic conversation with someone close to you, who takes the time to take notice and really listen.
“Asking, ‘are you OK?’ in a genuine manner is so important to the outcome,” said Mr Gagliardi who when struggling with the physical impact of an ongoing chronic back injury didn’t realise the mental toll it was having on him until a friend spotted the signs that he might need support.
“It was that non-judgmental, really active listening, just letting me vent, letting me let go of everything that I was thinking and worried about.” R U OK? Community Ambassador, Anthony Gagliardi
“I didn’t really know that I was going to answer ‘no’ (I wasn’t OK) at that point in time, but he sensed I was struggling, that something wasn’t quite right and asked me if I was OK,” said Mr Gagliardi. “Due to our relationship, there was a high level of trust and respect.
“It is about just being there, being able to listen, you’re not trying to fix the problem, that’s not the role,” he said. “It was that non-judgmental, really active listening, just letting me vent, letting me let go of everything that I was thinking and worried about.”
Mr Gagliardi’s experience reinforces the need to show genuine interest and concern when you ask someone, ‘are you OK?’ to encourage a meaningful conversation.
R U OK? encourages everyone to use these four simple steps.
- Ask R U OK?
- Encourage action
- Check in
Let the people in your world know you’re here, to really hear, because a conversation could change a life.
You can find FREE resources at ruok.org.au to help you know when and how to ask, ‘Are you OK?’ in your workplace, school and community.
For support at any time of day or night, Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis support. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online at: lifeline.org.au.
13YARN is a free 24/7 service offering crisis support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Call 13YARN (13 92 76).
 Fiftyfive5 (2023). R U OK? Day campaign research. Australia.
Feature Image: Gus Gleeson and R U OK? Community Ambassador Greg Smith / R U OK?