Friday, November 04, 2011

R U OK? and Not-So-Common Sense

Whilst I would like to think that all my years of uni and work experience mean that I provide a specialised service to people with mental health issues, I really think that active listening, checking in with people on their general well being and ensuring continued engagement is just what people do. Sadly, wrong. But that's what people in general should do!

It's not hard to ask someone if they are ok. Although, perhaps if it was, the R U OK? Day wouldn't have gained so much attention. Because people don't. People seem scared to ask, in fear of a real answer, in case the answer is more than "yes, thanks". The continued stigma and fear of mental illness is shocking, considering the prevalence of one in five Aussies.

I work with many cases where someone has been off work due to a psychological injury, for a whole range of reasons and antecedents, where often no one from the group of people that they would normally interact with 8 hours every working day, every week for years, has asked if they are ok, or checked how they are going.

I am always stunned. Outraged, but hurt for the person more so.

I hear the excuse that because it had been indicated that the client was experiencing depression, etc, it was thought best not to call them. Usually so the client is not more upset, is the thought. Well, I don't know what is more upsetting than if you are off work/away from anywhere because you are unwell, and no one calls you to let you know you are valued, important, and that someone there cares.

Take to people! We all need to do it, for each other. Engage in what our Indigenous brothers call Sorry Time. Listen. Sometimes it's just a call, 5 minutes of your time! Could be all the difference to someone's recovery.

1 comment:

  1. I'm constantly surprised by how often people either don't bother to ask how someone's going or they ask 'How're you going?' but never really listen to the answer, it's become more of a greeting than anything else.

    We all need to take care of each other a little better. :) And that starts with talking to each other.


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