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Are You Okay?: How to Ask on Super Bowl Sunday

As we gear up for Super Bowl LVII, football, chicken wings, and commercials are on the minds of most Oklahomans. But for those of us struggling with our mental health, we’re entering the biggest game of the year with a much bigger weight on our shoulders.

Whether it’s a bad bout of the winter blues or another heavy struggle, this time of year can take a toll on any of us — but not all of us might show it. While you’re gathered around the TV at this year’s Super Bowl party, take a break from the game to check in on your friends and loved ones. 

Need some pointers on executing the perfect “Are you okay?” play? Huddle up. 988 Oklahoma is here to break it down.
If you’re struggling with your mental health or thinking of suicide, the 988 Mental Health Lifeline is available 24/7. Call or text 988 for free, confidential help.

Pick the Right Time

Just like a well-timed interception, choosing the right moment to ask someone if they’re okay is crucial. Take a pause to check in during a commercial break or while grazing the snack table, not during the game-winning Hail Mary pass. It doesn’t have to be complicated either. A simple “Hey, how are you doing?” could be the gamechanger.

Keep It Casual

Remember, we’re all wearing jerseys and chowing down on chips right now. While your concern should be genuine, there’s no need to get overly serious and solemn. A heartfelt, “You seem a bit quiet lately. Everything okay?” is all it takes.

Avoid the Crowd

The whole party doesn’t need to be part of this huddle. Make space for a comfortable conversation by stepping away from the noise for some privacy. This will make it easier for the other person to open up if they need to.

Stick to the 3 Cs

Approach the conversation with concern, care, and compassion – the triple threat of genuine connection. Let your friend or loved one know you’ve noticed a change and that you care about their well-being. You might say: “I’ve noticed you’ve been a bit quiet lately. Is there anything on your mind?”

Listen Up

Allow the other person to share their feelings without judgment. Sometimes, all a person needs is a listening ear, especially during a high-energy event like the Super Bowl. Practice active listening by maintaining eye contact and avoiding interruption. It’s also a good idea to keep a read on body language. Now might not be the right time, and that’s okay. Open the invitation to talk another time.

Show Your Support

Just as a lineman protects their quarterback, let your friend know you’ve got their back. Offer your support and, if needed, suggest seeking professional help. Remind them that it’s okay to ask for a hand, whether it’s talking it out with a friend, tackling things with their doctor, or getting in touch with the 988 Mental Health Lifeline. Crisis counselors are available 24/7 every day of the year, including Super Bowl Sunday.

There you have it, Oklahoma. By following these steps, you can make sure everyone feels like a winner, no matter the game’s outcome. If you need more tips, you can always call or text 988 yourself for guidance on how to help someone you love. And remember, speaking up saves lives, even when it’s uncomfortable. The more we talk about our mental health, the more natural it becomes to get real when we don’t feel 100%.

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