Federation University expert urges us to ask the question R U OK?Posted: Wednesday 9 September 2020
Federation University Australia psychology lecturer Ashley Humphrey has called on residents of regional Victoria to get in touch with friends and family even if they can’t be bothered on R U OK? Day tomorrow.
R U OK? Day aims to encourage Australians to have open and honest conversations with one another to help reduce the country’s suicide rate.
The day is particularly important this year as all Victorians cope with the mental health implications of ongoing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Humphrey believes that a crucial way we can both support each other and improve their own well-being is to work on their social connectedness, even at times when it feels more like work than play.
While he acknowledges that for many Victorians, the novelty of lockdown Zoom parties has worn off, it is important to continue to maintain strong relationships with family and friends, despite the lure of Netflix or scrolling through their social media feeds.
Some ways Mr Humphrey suggests the community can continue to stay in touch is through Skype or Zoom, phone calls or exercising with another person.
Some signs that someone is struggling to cope include:
- Feeling unwilling to contact friends or family
- Putting up barriers between themselves and those close to them
- Lack of motivation
- An unwillingness to plan for the future
For those seeking a way through the second lockdown, Mr Humphrey recommends controlling the controllable by devoting time to activities that offer direction and purpose, whether reading a book or learning to play the guitar.
Quotes attributable to Federation University psychology lecturer, Dr Ashley Humphrey:
“A lot of us are pretty fed up with the current conditions. The novelty of the first lockdown, when we were all excited about Zoom catch-ups, has worn off. But now is the time when we need to dig deep to ensure we maintain our social connections.
“We need to think of social connectedness as a health metric – just like exercise, it’s really important we give a certain amount of time to nurturing it throughout our lives.
“Make yourself do things you don’t want to do in the moment, but which will pay dividends in the future. Give your friend a call or organise to catch up. You need to think ahead and recognise that normal life will resume, and you should consider where you want to be when everything opens up.”
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