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Just three little words- Are you Ok

Updated on April 23, 2014
Eileen Hughes profile image

Everyone should be aware that we are not all able to cope. Therefore when you see your friend or neighbor why not ask - Are you OK!

On the 29th of November 2009 they held a RUOK day. I read about it in our local news paper. It was a national day of action for the prevention of suicide. The message they wanted to get through is for people to ask their neighbors and friends alike, “Are you Ok”.

It is a very simple question, with a wealth of meaning behind it. Why are people so caught up in their own lives that they often do not know if their own neighbors are ok? We need to be more observant and understanding of other peoples problems. No I do not mean pry into their business or personal things. We need to know if they have any problems that if someone would offer to listen to them, it may ease their troubled mind.

They wanted this to be a day to connect to other people. Talk to them. Start a conversation. Which is not very hard, those three words is all it will need.

Are You Ok?

You may not receive a response, but at least try. Many people considering taking their lives, are saved because of close family and friends supporting them through their troubled times.  If you are all alone, without a caring ear to listen to your problems it is harder to rise above your fears and anxiety.

Eight Tips That May Help Someone

These are the eight tips, suggested in the printed article with the help of the lifeline and Department of health ‘as Quoted in our Sunday Times’:

1. Act now

Don’t wait. If you see behavior change, mood swings or detect feelings of hopelessness then act promptly and ask: “Are you OK?” Don’t assume people get better without help or they will seek help on their own.

2. Be receptive

Put the invitation out there and say: “I’ve got time to talk.” Maintain eye contact and sit in a relaxed position. Positive body language will help you both feel more comfortable. Often just spending time with the person lets them know you care and can help you understand what they’re going through.

3. Use ice-breakers to initiate a conversation

Use open-ended questions, such as: “So tell me about..?” These require more than yes or no answers. You could use the following to start a conversation: “I’ve noticed you’ve seemed really down/worried/stressed for a long time, now. Is there anyone you’ve been able to talk to about it?”

“Lots of people go through this sort of thing. Getting help will make it easier.”

“I hate to see you struggling on your own. There are people who can help. Have you thought of visiting your doctor?”

4. Hone listening skills

Listen to what a person is saying, be open minded and no judgmental. Sometimes, when someone wants to talk, they’re not always seeking advice; they just need to talk about their concerns. Be patient and let the person take their time. Avoid telling someone what to do. It is important to listen and try to help the other person work out what is best for them.

5. Tell them they don’t have to go it alone

Getting someone to open up about their feelings can be confronting and common reactions are to sometimes ignore the situation and hope it will go away. If you find you’re struggling, enlist the help of a trusted friend.

6. Safety first

If your concerns are real, don’t leave the person alone. Remove any means of self-harm available, including weapons, medications, even access to a car. And remove any drugs and alcohol.

7. Encourage them

Being healthy, eating well, exercising and getting regular sleep are the best ways to cope with tough times. They should also be encouraged to look after themselves. It is often during these periods people allow their health and habits to deteriorate which only makes the situation worse.

8. Act

No matter where you live, the person at risk can get help from a range of professional and supportive people including:

  • Their GP
  • Councilor, psychologist, social worker
  • School counselor, youth group leader
  • Emergency services- police and ambulance
  • Mental health services
  • Community health centers
  • Priests, ministers, religious leaders
  • Telephone counseling services such as Lifeline and Kids Helpline, MensLine Australia

Help someone else this Christmas Holidays

With Christmas just around the corner, we all need to be more observant.  Spare a thought for your neighbor alone with no relations and friends. Invite them to join you for Christmas.  If that is not possible then make the effort to pop in and wish them a Merry Christmas. Take them a couple of Christmas cookies or something small to let them know that you care about them.

This is a time for Christmas joy and sharing, of thoughts and good wishes.  Offer someone else, even a stranger that chance of happiness even for a moment and ask them: “Are you Ok.”

“Who will you ask?”



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    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      magicstar, thanks I just thought also kentucky was in one of the enid blyton books that I read as a kid too. gosh that was a looooonnng time ago. Funny how little things remind us of other things. thanks for stopping by

    • MagicStarER profile image


      9 years ago from Western Kentucky

      Such a thoughtful practice - we should implement this every day! Oh, and btw: Are You OK????? :) Love!

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      taky dine, thanks for that, and stopping by

    • Taky Dine profile image

      Taky Dine 

      9 years ago

      nice, actually great post,

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia


      it is the simple things that do that to people. It sort of sneaks up on you I think. You think you are coping and something triggers the water works. I am so glad that you have people around you.. Yes like you say you will spring back, but it does take time. I am sorry you are having problems at this time. Merry Xmas and a safe and happy new year

    • Nemingha profile image


      9 years ago

      Just today I heard some Christmas carols with the words, "It's the most wonderful time of the year" and "the best Christmas you've ever had" and I couldn't stop the tears from springing to my eyes, because this will be the absolute very worst Christmas I will ever have due to a family breakdown. Luckily I do have people around me asking if I'm okay and I guess I will be in time. Thanks for such a thoughtful hub.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      tarek coaching. Yes it gives them incentive to carry on sometimes. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Tarek Coaching 

      9 years ago

      Brilliant. It's amazing how such a small act of kindness can make a huge difference.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      jill of all trades, thanks for reading, merry xmas to you too.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Eileen,

      What a beautiful hub! I love the idea.

      Thank you for sharing.

      A blessed Christmas to you and your love ones!

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Laura de Toit. Yes I know, but If we cant think of others at christmas then what does it say about us as human beings.

      connelly, i understand where you are coming from thats for sure. Its great to know people care about you. homeless people dont have much joy.

    • connelly73 profile image


      9 years ago from Motherwell, Scotland

      Good hub for this time of year. Especially with the recession and people all over losing their jobs. I have had my hours cut and my wife was ill this year and it was good to hear people all year asking ME if I was OK because I had a lot to deal with. It let me know that people were thinking about me. Hope you have a nice Christmas and God Bless.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Great hub Eileen

      I think Christmas must be awful for people suffering from depression and loneliness. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of your readers. We are all so busy with our own lives we forget to look for tell-tale signs in others.

      Great Hub!

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      ethel, Hey we all need reminders of things. And we can all find someone worse of than ourselves.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      THanks for the reminder. We all get busy and forget others, if we are not careful. Nice Hub

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Peter, thats great to hear. Hope you have a happy christmas and new year.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 

      9 years ago from South East Asia

      Useful info. International too. No matter where you go people understand "Okay?". I do ask and have helped a few. Thanks.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Thank you for that I appreciate you stopping by

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub, well written with good lay out.

      Great timing too.

      Merry Christmas Eileen and all Hubbers.


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