Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed

Thursday 8 September is R U OK? Day, a National Day of Action and a reminder that every day is a day to check in with your friends, family and colleagues.

This year, R U OK? are championing the message; ‘Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed’, to remind Australians they already have what it takes to support the people in their world who might be struggling.

‘Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed’ comes in response to new research which found four in ten Australians feel asking someone ‘are you OK?’ is a conversation better had with an expert.

Listen to AFPA President Alex Caruana speaking about R U OK?

R U OK? have released a range of FREE resources including guides, tips and ideas to help Australians know when and how to have an R U OK? conversation.

Visit for free resources to help you have an R U OK? conversation. You can also head to our website ( ) for further comments from the AFPA President and resources that you can access.

Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed because a conversation could change a life.

For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Support service Contact Number
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Mental Health Line (NSW) 1800 011 511
Mental Health Line (QLD) 1300 642 255
Access Mental Health (ACT) 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 011 046
PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline 1300 726 306
Headspace 1800 650 890
SANE Australia 1800 187 263

The main thing to remember is you’ve got what it takes and you’re probably already having these conversations with the people you care about.

There’s no one way to have an R U OK? conversation, but the four steps, which we call ALEC, is a helpful framework:

  • Ask: Pick the right moment and ask R U OK? in a way that feels right for you. Mention changes you’ve noticed and that you’re concerned.
  • Listen: Listen without judgement. Don’t rush or interrupt, but encourage them to explain what’s going on for them.
  • Encourage Action: Ask what they’ve done in the past that has helped. There might be something practical you can do, or you could help them access professional support.
  • Check in: Stay in touch after the initial conversation. Check in to ask how they’re feeling and if things have improved. Stay connected so they’ll know you’re there for them.

Sometimes during an R U OK? conversation the person might say they’re not OK or become emotional. They might be angry, frustrated, or tearful. The best thing to do when this happens is to let them fully express their emotions and reassure them by actively listening to all they say.

You don’t have to have the answers or be able to solve their problems, but you can help them consider the next steps and actions they can take to manage their situation.

If the conversation becomes too big for you to manage you can call a crisis support service like Lifeline on 13 11 14 for immediate support and advice. If you believe someone’s life is in danger call 000.

The nature of the R U OK? mission and the personal reflections of people with lived experience of suicide can sometimes raise difficult emotions for others.

When organising and introducing your event please carefully consider the physical and social environment to help participants feel safe and supported. The following checklist is based on the Mental Health Coordinating Council guide.

  • Have you informed everyone about the nature of the event and provided an appropriate content warning?
  • Is your event space inclusive of disability needs?
  • Do those presenting/participating wish to bring a support person?
  • Have you ensured safe language is used throughout the event? (please refer to the Mindframe guidelines)
  • Are there staff/volunteers to greet people at the entry point?
  • Do staff/volunteers know the location of bathroom facilities and emergency exits?
  • Have you clearly identified a private place available for anyone who wishes to take a break during the event?
  • Are appropriately trained staff on site to provide support if needed and do attendees know who they are and where to find them?
  • Do you have a plan to check in with participants/presenters after the event?
  • Have you organised water/refreshments and scheduled breaks?

We understand that R U OK?Day can be difficult for some people and we are constantly listening to the community and evolving our efforts in response to feedback.

When we listen to and speak to those who provide us with this feedback, it is often the case that they don’t feel heard or valued, or they feel misunderstood.

It’s important to listen and acknowledge everyone’s experiences. If someone is struggling with the day, ask if they have access to professional support or encourage them to connect with a service like Lifeline on 13 11 14.

R U OK? encourages regular, meaningful conversations between family, friends and workmates because evidence shows that social connectedness and support are critical factors for boosting and maintaining individual wellbeing – and that people experiencing suicidal thoughts are more likely to seek help from friends or family.

Our research has found those engaged with R U OK? are six times more likely to reach out and support someone in their world who is struggling with life.

Hosting an event is a great way to bring people together and share the R U OK? message. We encourage you to take the opportunity to show people they can make a real difference in the life of someone who’s having a tough time by having a meaningful conversation and showing they genuinely care.

  • Recruit champions and share real stories: involve people who believe in the power of conversation to help you deliver your R U OK?Day activities. Invite someone who has a personal story of lived experience to share it, if they’re comfortable doing so.
  • Share the message: Use the R U OK? 2022 presentation deck and videos, both of which include the 4 steps of an R U OK? conversation. You could also tune in to the R U OK?Day virtual event at 12pm AEST.
  • Focus on connection: Plan activities that provide opportunities (and encouragement) for people to talk to one another. Check out the R U OK? connection activities here.
  • Share free R U OK? resources: Share the Conversation Guide, which contains tips to help you ask, ‘are you OK?’ and lend support to the people in your world, or download and print the R U OK?Day posters to raise awareness in your community.
  • Make every day R U OK?Day: We encourage Australians to keep a look out for the signs that someone might be struggling every day of the year. The R U OK? Activity Planner contains year-round ideas to encourage conversations.
  • Translated resources: R U OK? translated resources are available to encourage conversations in communities that don’t have English as their first language.