What to Say After ‘Are You Ok?’

What to Say After ‘Are You Ok?’


September 2020

IN BRIEF: Physical distancing, unexpected changes and unforeseen consequences in 2020 are impacting us all in different ways. As we approach R U Ok? Day on 10 September, we remind workplaces to regularly check in on the mental health and wellbeing of staff by asking ‘Are you ok?’, and following up frequently.

We are all aware of the changes that the COVID-19 global pandemic has on the way we work and the way we live. We are also aware by now that undergoing changes of any scale will likely impact the emotional and mental health of individuals in different ways.

At the beginning of the year, CCER published this article about ways that employers can mitigate mental illness at work. In April, we shared useful links and resources to help employers proactively manage the mental wellbeing of their staff.

As we approach R U Ok? Day on 10 September, it is essential to continue these important conversations on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Many of us know that asking another person ‘are you ok?’ is central to this campaign. But what should you do when that person says, ‘actually I’m not’? Here is a quick rundown of what you can do next.



It may be an obvious step but the average person only remembers half of what was said in a conversation. A person may find it challenging to open up or explain their situation with you, so it is important to show patience, understanding and to go at their pace. If they are not ready to talk, you can let them know that you have noticed they do not seem to be themselves lately, or just let them know that you are available to chat another time.


Encourage Action

After listening to them, talk through possible actions they can take, or help them identify other individuals around them that can provide the best support – whether this be a family member or a health care professional.



To show genuine support, don’t forget to follow up on how they have taken action and on their wellbeing. You can also take this opportunity to reassess the effectiveness of your previous conversation or to just find out how you can provide further support.


We may not be mental health care experts and professionals, but we all have the capacity to share compassion and sometimes a conversation can go a long way. Be sure to check out the abundance of helpful advice and practical resources available on R U Ok? Day’s website for workplaces.


If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch and speak with any of our Employment Relations Specialists at (02) 9390 5255 or email us at enquiry@ccer.catholic.org.au.

 Disclaimer: CCER does not give legal advice and this information should not be taken as such.

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