A letter to our clients

Dear Resilia Clients – past and present,

Anxious, stressed and chronically isolated – the ramifications of lockdown and restrictions in relation to COVID-19 are set to challenge our wellbeing. That’s why R U OK? Day is an important reminder that everyday should be R U OK? Day. For our clients who are already vulnerable due to previous mental health challenges, we want you to know, we stand with you in your recovery and are proud of the progress you are all making, even in the face of challenges surrounding COVID-19. In a depressed job market, we have seen many of you return to your previous work duties in new roles and are thriving with your new strategies for managing your mental health and wellbeing. That is not to say that you won’t experience times when your mental health is once again challenged and it’s in these times that we encourage you to reach out to those around you for support in getting back on track.

As many of you have sought support when you have felt overwhelmed, you know some of the early warning signs to lookout for in your friends and family that might suggest they aren’t tracking so well. In these situations remember the R U OK? message… there’s more to say after R U OK?

Step 1: Ask R U OK?
  • Be aware of the signs that concern you and explain succinctly why you want to catch up
  • Adopt a relaxed and friendly approach and thank them for meeting you
  • Think about specific examples of issues, such as recent behavioural or performance changes (e.g. “You seem to be really tired of late. Is everything okay?”)
  • Create the right environment in terms of timing (e.g. they have enough time) and location (e.g. neutral, comfortable and private)
  • Be clear on your message and approach from a position of concern and care
  • If they don’t want to open up, don’t criticise them and avoid confrontation
Step 2: Listen without Judgement
  • Manage your own emotional reactions, don’t appear judgemental or overreact
  • Allow them time to respond so you can better understand the reason for the observed changes – don’t rush them or interrupt
  • Express empathy, and keep the conversation going
    • “It sounds like you are juggling a number of challenges at the moment,”
    • “Things must be really difficult for you right now”
    • “I’m not going to present I know what it’s like for you, but I’m here to listen to why you feel the way you do.”
    • “It sounds like that would be really tough. How are you going with managing it?”
  • If emotions arise, listen actively and use silence when appropriate
  • Allow them to do most of the talking
  • Show them you are actively listening by repeating back what they have said and ask if you haven’t understood something
Step 3: Encourage Action
  • It’s crucial you end the conversation with a clear action plan so both parties understand what the outcome of the meeting will be
  • Ask for their solutions to the problem first before offering any of your own solutions
  • It’s not your role to fix the problem, but to guide them toward a solution or further assistance
  • Agree on an action plan together and thank them for their time, honesty and co-operation
Step 4: Check In
  • Set yourself a reminder to contact them in a couple of weeks, if not sooner
  • Review and monitor progress of any action plans and follow up regularly
  • If the proposed solutions aren’t working, you can assist again to think of other ways to support. Stay in touch and be there for them.

We urge you to reach out to someone you feel may have been struggling lately, and ask R U OK? A small question that could change a life.

The Resilia Team