RUOK Day 2016

Every morning, we stand at a crossroads. We can choose to help create a world that’s a little bit kinder, a little bit fairer and a little bit warmer for those who need some extra support. Or we can choose to be part of a world that’s a little bit colder, a little bit harsher and a little bit more prejudiced. Which will you choose?

When we sense that all may not be right with someone, it can often be easier to avoid the issue, for fear of saying the wrong thing and making the situation worse, or for fear of opening up an uncomfortable space that we won’t know how to handle. But saying nothing can send the message that you don’t care. Rather, express concern; say that you don’t have all the answers but that you are willing to do whatever you can to support them. You can listen, help guide them to work out what to do next, and offer to link them up with professional support.

Helping them to make contact with a psychologist through an employee assistance program, Access Place Psychology and Counselling, or a phone call to Lifeline, can start to turn things around. You can continue to check in with their progress and explore whether there are practical ways of helping to reduce the load on someone who is struggling. An invitation to coffee, a note or small thoughtful gifts, says that you care and may ease the burden.

Depression and stress have become the number one health concern in Australia. To tackle this on a large scale may seem overwhelming. RUOK Day gives us each a way to do our bit and together make a difference. I am reminded of the story of a man walking along a beautiful sandy beach strewn with thousands of starfish. He sees a small boy picking up the starfish and, one by one, throwing them back in the water. He asks the boy, ‘What are you doing?’

‘I am rescuing the starfish. If they stay on the beach, they’ll all die.’

‘But look! There are thousands of starfish! You can’t hope to make much difference to all these!’

Thoughtfully, the boy looked at the starfish in his hand. ‘It will make a big difference to this one.’

I strongly encourage you to trust your instincts and ask that person you sense may be battling a bit: ‘Are you OK?’ or ‘How are you going?’ or ‘Are you doing ok, mate?’ or whatever words you would genuinely use.

Listen and follow up. It will make a big difference.

(extract from article by Janette Phelan, Mission Action Partner, Churches of Christ)

Posted September 8, 2016 in Our blog