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R U OK DAY 2017
R U OK? DAY falls on Thursday 14 September 2017. It’s a national day of action to inspire all Australians to ask family, friends and colleagues, “Are you ok?” By regularly reaching out to one another and having open and honest conversations, we can help create and build on connections to reduce suicide rates.
CFA is proud to support not-for-profit organisation RUOK? and we encourage all our staff and volunteers to use this day as an opportunity to start a conversation with your workmates and make a promise to be there for each other on all other days of the year. This day aims to inspire individuals to take the following steps to help someone who may be in need:
1. Ask R U OK?
Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach. Help them open up by asking questions such as “What’s been happening?”, or “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?”
If they don’t want to talk, don’t criticise them. Let them know you care about them and you could say, “Please call me if you ever want to chat” or “is there someone else you’d rather talk to?”
2. Listen without judgement
Take what they say seriously and try not to rush the conversation. If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence. Silence can be a beautiful thing. Encourage them to further explain how they are feeling and how long they have been feeling this way. Show that you have been actively listening by repeating back what they have said to you, in your own words.
3. Encourage action
Ask “What have you done in the past to manager similar situations?”.Ask “how would you like me to support you?”. If they are feeling very down and have been for a while, encourage them to see a health professional or contact CFA’s Member Assistance Program on 1300 795 711 and be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.
4. Check in
Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.
Some conversations are too big for family and friends to take on alone. CFA has a range of support services and resources available to help staff and volunteers manage their mental health and deal with difficulties when they arise, including:
- Peer Support Program – trained members offering support and guidance – contact your local peer coordinator
- Member Assistance Program – 24-hour phone service where you talk to trained psychologists to help you through work and personal issues – 1300 795 711
- Chaplaincy Program – offering 24-hour pastoral care – 1800 337 068
- HeadsUP onlinetoolkit – information and advice on managing mental health and relationship issues – cfa.vic.gov.au/headsup.
The services are confidential, free of charge and available to all CFA members and their immediate families.