Newsletter

Tips for checking in on those around you

Checking-In

During this unprecedented time, it is important to check-in on those around you. But what does that actually mean and what does it look like when we do “check-in?” Here are some strategies to help you to have these all-important conversations:

A quick message - A simple approach to this is if someone has crossed your mind and there has not been any interaction in some way recently, send them a text (or ring) and say I am thinking about you and I hope you are going well. Also, take an hour out of your week (on a designated evening every week) and check that you have contacted friends and go through all personal communication platforms ensure that you haven’t forgotten to get back to people who have taken the time to reach out to you. Phone calls tend to take more time but some people who dislike texts are better on the phone.

Listening - when ringing someone or meeting for coffee, sometimes they need to vent or just talk through what is going on. Sometimes we really just need to name and verbalize how we are feeling or what we are experiencing. They might not be asking for anything but for you to listen. They may not want advice. If you feel time-pressured, just be honest that you have a little time and you can listen if that is helpful. It’s also ok to say upfront “I have to get back to work soon/pick up the kids/errands to do but I have ten minutes free if you just need me to listen and want to get it off your chest.” Sometimes acknowledging something positive or saying thank you for something they have done, can have an impact on their wellbeing. 

Giving advice - it’s best to ask directly them if they want advice, and then to be clear about why you feel qualified or not qualified to give it and what your limits are. Almost no one wants unsolicited advice, and almost no one wants someone else to act like they can “fix” or “solve” us easily. Don’t give advice without ) knowing if they want it, ii) knowing the limits of your ability to advise, and iii) being prepared and accepting for them to say they’ve already tried that, it isn’t appropriate/relevant to their need, or there are reasons they just aren’t going to do what you are suggesting. Don’t argue. Trust them that they know what is useful for them.

Practical support - if you know they have limited access to things they need or they are unable to do tasks (and you are both willing and able to do those things) offer it. Something like “Hey, I’m going to go and walk/ride/run and just sit by the lake later and wondered if you’d like to come? It’s ok if you do or don’t want to talk, bring a book if you prefer” might take more effort, so only offer them anything that you reasonably can.

Suggesting support - as you can see, the theme here is that we are trying to illustrate that support is simple; and a check-in can be small. However, we need to acknowledge that there will be times when you check-in and the other person is at the point where they do need more intense, professional support. These are ways of reminding them of very real resources (such as an EAP) that they already have access to and can make use of, but in the moment of spiralling mental illness or crisis, they may not be able to think of those things. It may mean saying “It sounds like you should be seen in person about that, do you know the number of our EAP?” Sometimes we are self-conscious and talk ourselves out assisting the other person for fear of “making a big deal” or worrying someone unnecessarily” or “not being qualified”. You are qualified because you care. But it is ok to say that you are uncomfortable, afraid for them, concerned, etc. and that you feel in over your head but want to help them connect with a professional who really can help. Notice that all of this is still about giving them the right to accept or reject the offered help.

Finally, for yourself find new and interesting ways to find connection in your life and activities that bring you joy. This statement is much harder than it sounds. This could mean that you need to find the time to go for a run/cook a full meal/tune into an online course or show up for your friends organised trivia night (via Zoom). This requires planning, effort, time management and focus. However, we do know that connection is key.

For more information or to arrange an appointment to speak with someone who is trained to help, please call us on 1800 818 728.

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AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away
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indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.