R U OK?, in collaboration with Professor Nicholas Procter and the team at UniSA’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group, has released the revised Mateship Manual. The free manual is designed to provide guidance on how to support someone affected by a natural disaster or emergency, and why it’s important to reach out to family, friends and colleagues to ask, “are you okay?”.
Depending on what people are already dealing with in their lives, the emotional impact of an event can be difficult for people to cope with both in the short and longer term. Some people may not experience distress until long after an event.
The Mateship Manual combines lived experience and trauma lessons with research and clinical expertise to provide guidance on how to have tough conversations if someone is struggling.
Everymind Acting Program Manager, Sara Bartlett, said it can be difficult to approach a family member or friend if you think they are struggling.
“By having access to a helpful guide, such as the Mateship Manual, we can help to provide the support needed for someone going through a tough time.”
By asking and listening, you can help those you care about feel more supported and connected. You can be the one to make that difference if you follow some simple steps.
- Trust the signs - if someone in your world is isolating themselves physically in times when communities are gathering together, don’t ignore it. Remember warning signs will be different for everyone.
- Ask R U OK? - when you have a conversation, it can be helpful to let them know what changes you’ve noticed.
- Listen - sometimes listening can be all that’s needed. Giving someone a chance to vent and acknowledge that things are tough right now can make all the difference.
- Encourage action - helping them find professional support is important and can be a relief for someone when they have a lot on their mind.
- Check in - it’s really important to follow up in a few days to see how the person is doing. If they’re really struggling, follow up with them sooner.
In challenging times such as these it is even more important that we all promote a sense of community, and reach out to our friends, family and colleagues.
Professor Procter also contributed to the R U OK? blog to explain why the Mateship Manual is so important right now. Read the article here.