Trust the signs

Mental health advocates hit the road to help Aussies recognise the signs of depression.

The R U OK? Trust the Signs Tour comes in the wake of research released by R U OK? that found nearly two-thirds of Australians (63%) are not confident they know the signs that someone might be struggling with life. 

Of those surveyed, 41% hadn’t asked someone if they were ok because they weren’t sure they knew the signs. 

However, there is hope, with one in two (49%) believing they’d be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs.

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said the tour aimed to build confidence in recognising when someone might be struggling so that Australians ‘Trust the Signs, Trust their Gut and Ask R U OK?’. 

“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference but what we’re hearing is that people aren’t sure when the right time is to have an R U OK? conversation,” Ms Newton. 

“Signs can be subtle changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour. 

“A loved one might tell you they’re having difficulty switching off or a mate might be withdrawing from social situations like not turning up to training. 

“We’re encouraging people to look out for those cues. We can also make a conscious effort when we know someone is going through a significant life change such as job loss, relationship breakdown, study pressure or perhaps becoming a parent.

“By taking the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ around Australia, we hope to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life.”

The ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ will complete its journey in Sydney on 12 September to coincide with R U OK? Day, a national day of action marked with events around the country.

For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

What are the signs?

What they might say: 

  • Things that sound more confused or irrational. 
  • Things that indicate a persistent drop in mood. 
  • Complain they have difficulty switching off. 
  • They are struggling to see a future. 
  • They believe they’re a burden on others. 
  • They feel worthless or alone. 
  • They feel trapped or unbearable pain. 
  • Talk about death, suicide and wanting to die. 

What they might do: 

  • Change their mood or experience extreme mood swings. 
  • Withdraw or avoid friends, family or social situations. 
  • Change their online behaviour.
  • Not enjoy hobbies or interests they once did.
  • Have difficulty concentrating.
  • Lose interest in maintaining personal hygiene or appearance. 
  • Behave recklessly, including increasing alcohol or drug use. 
  • Change their sleep pattern.