RUOK?Day isn’t just a good chance to gather the team around to have a chat, it is also a day that offers an opportunity to assess the mental health and wellbeing of your workplace and genuinely check in with those around you. But while RUOK?Day is undoubtedly beneficial for these purposes, we also need to keep in mind that mental health awareness days – particularly those that are well known and create an influx of attention on social media – can be difficult for people experiencing poor mental health. Remember: mental illness does not discriminate; it could be affecting your workers, even if it is not apparent on the surface.
It is important, therefore, to approach the day with sensitivity and sincerity. RUOK?Day is not only an event to add to your workplace’s social calendar, but one that affects human lives. We encourage you to consider the below tips when planning for and speaking about your workplace event.
Top tips to create safety on RUOK?Day
- Remind staff and colleagues to be genuine when asking if someone is OK
- Ensure there is follow up to the question if there is concern for someone’s mental health or wellbeing. Be sure to also to communicate about support following R U OK?Day like your workplace’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other external services
- Keep in mind the safe language to use when talking about mental health. Mindframe is considered the best practice guide to language around both mental health and suicide, and although their resources are targeted to the media, the language applies equally to workplaces
- Communicate that good workplace mental health is important every day of the year and commit to creating a mentally healthy workplace – a wide variety of resources and tips to get you started can be found on the Victorian Workplace Mental Wellbeing Collaboration website and in SuperFriend’s Promoting Positive Mental Health in the Workplace guidelines
- Remember, it is okay to not have all the answers. Look after your own wellbeing by reflecting on whether you are ready for any conversations about mental health.
National 24/7 Crisis Support numbers
|Suicide Call Back Service||1300 659 467|
|Lifeline||13 11 14|
|beyondblue||1300 22 4636|
|MensLine Australia||1300 78 99 78|
Youth Specific Services
|Kids Helpline||1800 55 1800|
|Headspace||1800 650 890|