Thursday, the 9th of September is national “R U OK?” Day.
R U OK? Day is a great time to check in with your employees about how they are doing and to offer any support they might need.
The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of lockdowns and restrictions, and the effects of natural disasters have seen a spike in mental health concerns across the globe. In Australia Mental Health Service Providers have reported up to a 30% increase in calls for assistance since pre-pandemic.
We have all read enough in recent years to understand the huge impact that mental health has on individuals and the workplace, including increased absenteeism and reduced productivity. Mental health governs all aspects of our life and employers are now expected to take a role in supporting employees.
It is helpful for organisations to embed “R U OK?” and mental health into their calendars as well and the day-to-day conversations, and for managers to be aware of how to respond when someone says “No, I’m not ok.”
R U OK? is a harm prevention charity focused on suicide prevention through building the confidence and motivation of the ‘help-giver’ to enable them to have the skills to be alert of others around them and to facilitate conversations early if they identify signs of stress or difficulty in another person.
R U OK? Offer free resources at ruok.org.au which will equip people with the skills and knowledge on how to offer support or help connect someone to appropriate support, long before they’re in crisis.
In relation to employee mental health and wellbeing, PeopleStart recommend encouraging and promoting both “R U OK?” Day and mental health in general. Download some free information, posters and resources and share them with your staff on R U OK? Day. Set aside some time during meetings or 1-1’s to check up on employees or consider sending email comm’s that create awareness surrounding mental health and what supports are available to staff both internally and externally.
R U OK recommends that if you notice that something isn’t quite right with someone, you can ask them, “R U OK?”, and if they’re not, make the time to LISTEN, ENCOUARGE ACTION and CHECK IN. A conversation could change a life.