YOU’LL NEVER EMBARRASS ANYONE BY ASKING ABOUT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH. LEAST OF ALL YOURSELF.

So, you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, but scared to ask them for fear of embarrassment or making the whole issue worse?

If you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, but scared to ask them for fear of embarrassment or making the whole issue worse, don’t be. There’s a simple logic to asking someone this and once you understand it, you’ll never be worried again. 

The first thing is to approach them when you have some time to spare and somewhere private to talk. The other thing to do is to avoid asking them RUOK? Why? Because it’s too easy to say, “Yes thanks” and end the conversation. You want to list the changes you’ve noticed and simply say you’re a bit concerned. That way the onus is on them to respond more fully.

Having told your friend you are concerned about them and just wanted to check everything was okay there are three possible scenarios – none of which will embarrass either of you:

 1.   They have no problem. You’ve simply misread the situation but they think you’re great for asking.

 2.   They have a problem but deny it. That’s pretty common, but least you’ve opened a gate for them and they know they can approach you later. They love you for it.

 3.   They have a problem and they sigh a massive sigh of relief that they have someone who cares and that they can talk to. They are not alone. They name their firstborn child after you – or rename an existing one.

If the person wants to talk, take them for a walk I the park as it will be easier than sitting facing each other at a coffee shop. Ang whatever you do, do not have this discussion over a beer or glass of wine. That won’t solve anything.

And lastly, if your friend is telling you that no-one loves them or they think they’re useless, don’t contradict them as it will only make them feel worse at the moment. Just listen and then suggest they might want to see a GP.

Sitting back with your mouth shut tight for fear of embarrassment is a waste of time. And possibly even a life.

RUOK are the masters of starting meaningful conversations. This is really helpful:

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So, you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, but scared to ask them for fear of embarrassment or making the whole issue worse?

Well don’t worry, you won’t.

There’s a simple logic to this and once you see it, you’ll slap yourself on the forehead and never be scared again.

But first a word about political correctness. It’s crap. Well, most of it.

Forget about what you are or are not allowed to say. If you’re approaching from genuine concern, who gives a damn?

I once had a good mate enquire of my health by saying, “Sarah (who is his wife) told me I had to ask how your pills are going?”

I said they were going well to which he replied, “Oh thank God for that.” We both laughed, but nevertheless, I was deeply moved. This was his blokey way of telling me he cared.

The point is, it’s much better to ask than not.

Now to the logic.

If you told someone you were concerned about them and just wanted to check everything was okay there are three possible scenarios:

 1.   They have no problem. You’ve simply misread the situation but they think you’re great for asking.

 2.   They have a problem but deny it. At least you’ve opened a gate for them and shown you care. They love you for it.

 3.   They have a problem and they sigh a massive sigh of relief that they have someone who cares and that they can talk to. They are not alone. They name their firstborn child after you – or rename an existing one.

Sitting back with your mouth shut tight for fear of embarrassment is a waste of time. And possibly even a life.

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