You don’t need to be an expert to ask the simple question, R U OK?
R U OK Day – today, Thursday 8 September – reminds us that we all have what it takes to support those who might be struggling.
The theme for this year’s national day of action is ‘Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed’, which is in response to new research which found that four in 10 Australians feel asking someone ‘are you ok?’ is a conversation better had with an expert.
R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said recent events such as natural disasters, the pandemic and cost of living increases meant many people were under additional pressure.
“We want to reassure Australians that you don’t need to be an expert to have an R U OK? conversation,” Ms Newton said. “Listening and giving someone your time might be just what they need to help them through a difficult period.”
This is confirmed by the research, which found that when authentic, genuine R U OK? conversations are happening, more than 80% of people say they are making a positive difference.
“The work of health professionals is vital, and their value cannot be underestimated, however by having regular, meaningful conversations, we can help the people we care about feel supported before they are in crisis and, if that conversation does get too big for us, we can guide them to seek professional help,” Ms Newton said.
In honour of R U OK Day, the QLS Future Leaders Committee’s newest episode on The Callover features two special guests who offer their insights into how to manage our mental health to ensure we can sustain long and fulfilling legal careers.
Retired Magistrate David Heilpern, who served in the New South Wales Local Court from 1998 to 2020, is the first guest. In 2017 when he delivered a lecture titled ‘Lifting the judicial veil – vicarious trauma, PTSD and the judiciary’, it was one of the first times that a sitting judicial officer had expressed such frank reflections, publicly, on the impact that their work had on their mental health. It inspired many within the profession to begin honest conversations about mental health.
The second guest, Melissa Sadlo, a psychologist who works with LawCare, talks about when and how to ask a friend, colleague or yourself, R U OK?
Listen to the podcast.