Signs It’s Time to Ask a Loved One: R U OK?


Regardless of who you are, where you are, or what you do, it’s impossible that you’ve made it this far through the year completely unscathed.

If you’re feeling on edge, know that you’re not alone. Today is R U OK? Day in Australia (which coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day), and it’s important on days like this to take a moment to check in with yourself and those around you.

The premise of R U OK? Day is simple, but something that probably gets overlooked way too often in our everyday lives. It’s about checking with your mates and family members, keeping an eye out for any changes in their behaviour and taking the time to ask them, ‘Are you OK?’

So, how do you know that it’s more than just an off day? R U OK put together a list of signs to look out for, so trust your gut and if you notice any of the below, it’s time to say those magic words: R U OK?

What are they saying? Do they seem:

• Confused or irrational
• Moody
• Unable to switch off
• Concerned about the future
• Concerned they’re a burden
• Lonely or lacking self-esteem
• Concerned they’re trapped or in pain

What are they doing? Are they:

• Experiencing mood swings
• Becoming withdrawn
• Changing their online behaviour
• Losing interest in what they used to love
• Unable to concentrate
• Less interested in their appearance and personal hygiene
• Behaving recklessly
• Changing their sleep patterns

What’s going on in their life? Are they experiencing: 

• Relationship issues
• Major health issues
• Work pressure or constant stress
• Financial difficulty
• Loss of someone or something they care about

So, you’ve gone and taken the important first step and checked in with a loved one. But what if they’re not ok? What now? R U OK have together a really brilliant step-by-step guide on how to ask, respond and be the best support possible for your friend or family member, and you should check it out right here. And remember—we’re all in this together, so let’s keep an eye out for one another.

If you are struggling with your mental health or having suicidal thoughts, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (Australia) or the Suicide Prevention Hotline on 1-800-273-8255 (USA). 

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