How to ask 'Are you ok?'

Most of us have heard about R U OK day, but not everyone might know how to recognise if you should ask someone and how to go about it. For most of us, we have the best intentions but perhaps not the ‘know how’, so we wanted to get you started with some tips on how to ask ‘are you okay?’.

Do you have someone in your life that is doing it tough right now? They might seem stressed, irritable, down or just not themselves. Maybe they have lost their job, or they might be isolating themselves. No one likes to see their friends, family or colleagues suffering and it's important that when we notice these changes, we have a chat with them and ask if they’re okay.

The best way to do this is:

  • Make sure you find the right time where you’re both comfortable and away from other people who might overhear. Most people find it easier to talk about this sort of thing when they’re doing something else at the same time, some good options are asking them to go for a drive or going for a walk.
  • Ask them how they’re doing and listen to their response. You might say something like “hey I’ve noticed you haven’t really seemed yourself lately and I wanted to ask if you are okay and if there is anything I can do to help?”. You don’t need to have answers or give advice just listen and make sure they know that how they’re feeling is okay and that you’re always there to talk.

Important note: It's crucial that if you think they could be suicidal that you ask, it's a myth that you’ll ‘put the idea in their head’. Listen to them and make sure they know they are not alone. If they are thinking about suicide you can call a helpline together like the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or you can call an ambulance. Just make sure that you don’t leave them alone and reassure them that you will work it out together.

  • If they say they are struggling, chat to them about the support available. We have a list of online and phone resources that you can refer them to. It's also a really good idea to see a psychologist, this can be done easily by visiting a GP who will direct them where to go from there.

It's a difficult time right now and many people are finding it tough. It's really important that if you notice someone isn’t themselves you start a conversation about it to let them know they aren’t alone.

For more on how to ask ‘R U OK? And useful resources including where to find help visit

Amy Brown,
Wellbeing Guru
Amy has always wanted to work in a career that makes others’ lives better, which is why she did a psychology degree. As a big fan of positive psychology and a self-confessed research nerd, Amy loves learning new ways we can improve our lives and sharing them through blog articles, webinars, workshops and more!