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Reach Out To A Friend On R U OK? DAY
Make a connection with those close to you today on Australia’s R U OK? Day. A national day of action inspiring all people to meaningfully connect and regularly ask each other 'Are you OK?'. By asking one simple question it encourages people to stay connected and help stop little problems from turning into big ones.
This R U OK? Day, invest some time to check in on your personal relationships, friends, family and colleagues. With one simple question you can contribute to suicide prevention and help reduce stigma around mental health.
Suicide in Australia is a devastating yet often unspoken topic, in recent years it has been recognised as a public health priority and is gaining the attention it needs. R U OK? Day was created to help raise awareness on suicide and mental health. The campaign aims to prevent suicide by encouraging and empowering Australians to reach out to friends and family who might be experiencing personal difficulties.
Many people who experience or know someone who is experiencing mental health difficulties will ask themselves “why?”. One of the most well renowned theories behind preventing suicide tries to answer that complex question by describing three forces at play in someone at risk. One of these forces is a decreased sense of belonging.
R U OK? Day works to prevent that lack of belonging and sense of connection that can develop in people. Through education and encouragement of people to take the time to ask "Are you OK?" as a genuine and authentic question and listen to the reply with an open mind, we can help those around us who are struggling with life to feel connected and supported, long before they think about suicide.
Social connections such as regular, face-to-face, meaningful conversations about life, are a protective factor against suicide. Asking “Are you OK?” is a great place to start these conversations. The R U OK? Campaign encourages the use of a four-step model to have these conversations:
- Ask the person how they’re going
- Listen without judgement
- Encourage the person to take action, such as seeking support from a mental health professional
- Check in with the person by following up with them at a later time
By starting a conversation after noticing a change in someone around you, you could help that family member, friend or workmate to open up. If they say they are not ok, you can follow the conversation steps from above to show them that they are supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load.
By keeping an eye on one and another we can all work to remain connected and reduce the rate of suicide. Asking isn’t always easy, but it could change a life. To learn more about holding connecting conversations visit the R U OK? website. Or, if you’re struggling with life, reach out to your GP for support.