Start the conversation


If you notice a change in a friend or loved one, follow this guide to help start the conversation.

  1. Ask R U OK?

Pick the right time and place to start the conversation. Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like ‘You seem less chatty than usual.” How are you going?”

  1. Listen

Take what they say seriously and it’s important not to interrupt or rush the conversation. Encourage them to explain how they’re feeling and how long they have been feeling that way.

Show that you’re listening by repeating back what you’ve heard them say in your own words and ask if you’ve understood them properly.

  1. Encourage action

Help them think of next steps they could take to help them manage their situation. If they’ve been down for more than two weeks, encourage them to see a health professional.

Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.

  1. Check In

Schedule a reminder to call them in a couple of weeks. If they’re really struggling, follow-up with them sooner. Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.

Here are some useful contacts for someone who’s not ok—encourage them to connect with a trusted health professional, like their GP or these Australia crisis lines and professionals:

Lifeline (24/7)
13 11 14

Kids helpline
1800 551 800

Beyond Blue
1300 224 363

SANE Australia
1800 187 263

More contacts