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  • Jane Daisley-Snow

Helping a friend who isn't OK

We all see #RUOK online. We're often encourage to ask our family, friends, coworkers and so on if they are indeed, okay. But are we prepared for how to help if someone tells us they aren't coping?

Counsellor, psychotherapist and ACAP expert, Jane Daisley-Snow shares her top tips for helping someone you love when they aren't okay.

1) The first step is your RECOGNITION that someone you care about is struggling with their mental health

- Become informed about common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression and suicide risk.

2) The second step is to RESPOND empathically

- Choose a suitable time and place to raise the topic

- Let the person know you have noticed some changes and are there to listen and offer support

3) AEIO for U

Authenticity: be sincere and be yourself

Empathy: see the situation from their perspective

Immediacy: show genuine interest and attention

Openness: actively listen with an open mind and suspend judgement

4) Use phrases such as:

- “Would you like to talk about what you’re going through?

- “I am really pleased you are sharing this with me”

- “What can I do to help?”

- “I can imagine this is really challenging for you”

- “You are not alone in this. I am here and there are a lot of support services available”

5) Actively listen to them and validate their feelings using “ I statements”

For example, “ I can hear you are worried about providing for your family or “ I can see the impact this has had on you” or “ I can hear the despair you are feeling”

6) If the issue feels like it requires the help of a professional, suggest they seek professional help from resources such as:

7) If the person is at risk of suicide

If the person is at risk of suicide or self-harm encourage them to seek help immediately

Lifeline for anyone having a person crisis 13 11 14 and Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide 1300 659 467) or contact emergency services 000 yourself.


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