Thursday10 September is ‘R U Ok? Day’ 

R U Ok? Day hopes to create awareness for mental health and the importance of social connections. The day is dedicated to inspiring and empowering us all to meaningfully connect with people around us, by asking the simple question “Are you OK?” 

So far, 2020 has brought with it many challenges. Never before have we, as a society and people of the world, had to face and live with this level of uncertainty, isolation, loss of control and change. While we are grateful for the freedom we now have in Tasmania, the impacts of the loss and changes associated with COVID-19 will be far reaching. So now, more than ever, it is important to check in with each other. “Are you Ok?” 

At MRC, we will be facilitating these conversations amongst staff and students on R U Ok? Day, as well as providing the resources and encouragement to continue to do this with each other. The focus is on:  

  1. Identification – How do I notice when others and when I am struggling? 
  2. Asking the questions – How do I check in with people? 
  3. There’s more to say after ‘Are you Ok’ – How do I encourage others to get more support? 

We know that it is not always easy, however, we also encourage you to have these conversations with your friends, colleagues, family members and children. As your child grows up, remember that your relationship with them will change and so too will the way you communicate with them. While adolescents crave independence, this does not mean disconnection from you. In fact, your teen needs you just as much as they ever did, and one of the best ways you can support them is by making sure they will come to you with any problems that they are having. 

Below are some tips for Checking in with Teenagers: 


  • Life is busy, but don’t overlook making the time and space to check in each day. Talking often about all the little things will build the trust teens need to come to you about big things.  
  • Try to create routine activities that are done together, eg. walking the dog, cooking dinner or driving to sport. Teens are more likely to open up when they are doing something and while they are alongside you.  
  • If it is an important conversation, make sure that they aren’t in the middle of something and choose a quiet space without distractions. 

Asking the Right Questions 

  • Effective questions assist in identifying emotions, validating feelings and are openended to allow information to be gathered, for example:  
  • ‘Is there something that you’d like some help with?’ 
  • ‘Ok, I’m here for you, what’s up?’ 
  • ‘I’ve noticed you seem a bit stressed, is there something worrying you?’ 
  • ‘How did that make you feel?’ 
  • ‘It sounds as if you were (angry/frustrated/excited), were you?’ 


When you actively listen to your teenager you will hear what they are saying, not what you think they are saying. Doing so will allow you both to feel free to talk about your feelings and to feel heard and understood.  

  • Give them your undivided attention. 
  • Be genuinely interested and curious about what they are telling you. 
  • Show empathy – put yourself in their shoes and validate their feelings.  

Problem Solving 

Sometimes we all just need to ‘vent’, get stuff off our chests and let people know that we’ve had a bad day. We don’t need anyone to give us a solution or to ‘fix’ a problem. As parents this is hard. Innately we don’t like seeing our young people upset and have a desire to fix things. Instead, they just need to feel loved and supported. Allowing them to talk through problems will give them an opportunity to use you as a sounding board, work through problems themselves and take responsibility for their actions. If you feel the urge to suggest a solution, lecture them or tell them how to think or feel, instead try to say: 

  • ‘That sounds tough, do you want help to find a solution or do you just need to get it off your chest?’ 
  • ‘And then what happened?’ 
  • ‘What do you think is the best thing to do now?’ 
  • Let them know that you understand by summarising the situation as you’ve heard it. This also takes the emotion out of the situation and allows them to see the facts, eg. ‘So let me see if I’ve got this right. You did ‘x’ and then ‘x’ happened, and it made you feel ‘x’. Is that how it happened?’ 

More Support 

Sometimes you or your adolescent will need more support. Below are some places you can go to access this.  

  • Speak to teachers or Year Level Coordinator 
  • Accessing School Counselling service  
  • Marist Student Support Services MEL Page 
  • Speak to your GP about a Mental Health Care Plan for Private Therapy 
  • Support through local community agencies: CAMHS, Catholic Care, Cornerstone and Headspace. 
  • Mental Health Advocacy Hotlines, Websites and Apps, eg. Beyond Blue, Headspace, Reach Out, Lifeline, Kids Helpline and Mood Gym.   

There is no limit to R U Ok? Day.  My challenge for you, is not just today, but everyday… To ask yourself, “Am I ok?” and to ask someone else (a colleague, friend, family member, child, acquaintance, or someone you’re physically separated from), “Are you Ok?”.  But don’t let it end there. May you have the courage to say ‘No’ or ‘I Need Help’, and the faith that those around you will be able to support you.  

Ms Nicole Young 

College Psychologist