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Men sometimes aren’t comfortable reaching out and opening up about life’s challenges – or they think they’ll be burdening their friends if they do.

If someone you care about seems to be going through a tough time, they might not talk about it even if they want to. The first step in looking out for them is reaching out.

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How to prepare yourself for a tough conversation

You can’t fix someone else’s problems, but you can be there for them. Sometimes listening is the most helpful thing you can do. You won’t make things worse by asking someone how they’re doing. Keep in mind that it’s always worth preparing yourself before you start the conversation.

Check in with yourself

Are you in a good state of mind?

Do you have time to listen?

If they’re not ready to talk or don’t want to talk to you, are you OK with that?

If you ask them how they’re doing, are you prepared for the answer to be ‘not good’? Be yourself. You don’t have to be a counsellor or a doctor prescribing solutions – just be you.

Set a time

Good conversations can happen anywhere, but with physical distancing as the new normal for the time being, our options are limited.

Set up a time for a video call and chat ‘face to face’, albeit virtually.

Sometimes it’s easier to start a conversation via text or chat, and that’s fine too.


Four simple steps – use ALEC to help you navigate a conversation with a friend who might be doing it tough.

Our new tool ‘Movember Conversations’ gives you the confidence to have conversations with the men in your life who might be struggling.

Huge thanks to R U OK? for developing the ALEC model.


Start by asking how he’s feeling. It’s worth mentioning any changes you’ve picked up on: has he stopped replying to texts? Does he sound different on the phone? Has he gone quiet in the group chat?

Use a prompt like, "You haven’t seemed yourself lately – are you feeling OK?”

Trust your instinct. Remember, people often say "I'm fine" when they’re not, so don't be afraid to ask twice.

You can use something specific you’ve noticed, like, “It’s just that you haven’t been replying to my texts, and that’s not like you.”


Give him your full attention. Let him know you’re hearing what he’s saying and you’re not judging. You don’t have to diagnose problems or offer solutions, but asking questions lets him know you’re listening.

Ask a question like, "That can't be easy – how long have you felt this way?"

Encourage Action

Help him focus on simple things that might improve how he feels. Is he getting enough sleep? Is he exercising and eating well? Maybe there’s something that’s helped him in the past – it’s worth asking.

Suggest that he share how he’s feeling with others he trusts. This will make things easier for both of you. And if he’s felt low for more than two weeks, suggest that he chat to his doctor.

Check In

Follow up your conversation with a phone call or FaceTime. This helps to show that you care; plus, you’ll get a feel for whether he’s feeling any better.

Huge thanks to R U OK? for developing the ALEC model.

Movember Conversations gives you the confidence to have conversations with the men in your life who might be struggling.

It’s almost midday. Time to get out of bed and get on the beers!
Hey man. That doesn’t sound like you! Is everything ok?
Just hardly any reason to get out of bed these days.
What would you say next?
If you're ever worried that someone's life is in immediate danger, call 112 or go directly to emergency services.