The official R U OK? Day may have been held yesterday this year, but the suicide prevention charity behind the day want to reinforce that every day should be R U OK? Day, not just the official one.
Now in its 10th year the national day of action is held each year in September and yesterday, residents from all around the Dubbo region were asked to ask their friends and family, R U OK?
R U OK? Day was launched in 2009 by founder and adman Gavin Larkin who tragically lost his father to suicide in 1995.
Larkin (who died of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2011) wanted to spare other families the grief his own endured.
A spark of an idea has since become a national movement aimed at encouraging friends, families, loved ones and workmates to ask the question of anyone they are worried about, in a genuine and meaningful way.
Earlier this year R U OK? conducted a survey that revealed:
- 51 per cent of us were asked by someone if we were OK when we really needed it
- More than half of Australians (57 per cent) in the last 12 months, wanted someone to ask them if they were ok
- While 52 per cent of us thought about asking someone if they were ok, at least once, but didn’t
R U OK? Campaign Director Katherine Newton said with around eight people taking their lives in Australia each day, and many more attempting, there is still so much more work to do.
She said each of us could be there for someone struggling by following the R U OK? four steps and pointing people to help that’s available.
Going forward it would be good if statistics reflect the majority of Australians are asking their friends and colleagues this question the majority of the time when they spot the signs that someone they care about is behaving out of the normal.
R U OK?’s Conversation Convoy has just wrapped up a six-week journey around the country hosting 25 events in regional and remote Australia to equip people with the skills and confidence to navigate a conversation if someone says, “No, I’m not ok”.
The group said they had spoken to hundreds of Australians and had some very meaningful conversations as a result.
So, remember, it doesn’t just have to be on one special day that you ask the question.
Ask today, R U OK?