from my friend Paul on the RSA Fellowship Forum

First of all, RUOK? If not, let someone know. It’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to say nothing if you’re not OK!

Secondly, what are you doing on RUOK? Day this year? Who are you going to ask the question to – a loved one, a close friend, a work colleague, a friend or family member you haven’t heard from for a while, the guy who works in the corner shop, the woman who lives next door…?

Rehearse asking the question, but don’t think about it too much because we just need to ask RUOK? to as many people as we can – on RUOK? Day and every day.

[Every day is RUOK? Day of course, it’s just that Thursday 14 September is formally, co-ordinated, awareness-raising, official, national RUOK? Day in Australia].

Have a look on the RUOK? website to get some ideas, encouragement or support if you need it. After you ask RUOK?, make sure you listen to the answer. If someone is not OK, listen some more and encourage them to seek help (e.g. by going to the RUOK? website, or other sources such as Lifeline or beyondblue, or their doctor).

However, bear in mind that your listening might actually be the very help they need.

Do you work in an office, shop, factory, building site…? What is your employer planning to do for RUOK? Day (or maybe you are that employer)? What is your manager planning to do (or maybe you are that manager)? What is your team going to do? What are YOU going to do? Maybe you can initiate something at work, as well as at home?

Let us know what you’re planning, and then let us know how it goes.

And finally, RUOK with the idea of asking RUOK? on RUOK? Day? If not, contact the RUOK? Day team and they’ll guide you.

If you’ve already organised something for RUOK? Day, that’s great. Please share so we can learn.

If not, here’s a simple but powerful team coaching & bonding exercise. I’ve facilitated this many times, and it always throws up new experiences & new coping strategies – for someone.

Get your team/group together over lunch or snacks in a suitably relaxed environment. Set the context by saying a few words about RUOK? Day & the importance of checking in with each other – asking ‘RUOK?’.

Everyone describes how they experience stress & anxiety, e.g. “I tend to get really stressed when…“, “I feel anxious when…“, “when I get really stressed, I tend to (get a cold sweat, go quiet, bite my nails, get really restless, stare at my computer…)“. What are the symptoms, the signs?

Everyone shares what they do when they get stressed or anxious. Most people have coping strategies, they just might not use that language, or even be conscious it is a coping strategy. “When I’m really stressed, I tend to…“.

Everyone learns from each other. Everyone learns about each other. Everyone becomes better able & willing to support each other. And you often learn about yourself too.