to stop little problems becoming bigger by asking someone, ‘Are you ok?’
Millions of people asked the question last year, including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, actors Hugh Jackman, Jack Thompson and Naomi Watts, and sporting heroes Wendell Sailor and Libby Trickett.
The national day of action is dedicated to helping reduce Australia’s high suicide rate and was launched in Australian Parliament in 2009 by the late Gavin Larkin OAM whose own father took his life in in 1995. R U OK?Day aims to inspire all Australians to take responsibility for people in their lives who may be struggling and need an opportunity to say ‘I’m not ok’ to a friend or family member.
R U OK? Co-founder and CEO, Janina Nearn, says anyone can get involved in the campaign by simply reaching out to colleague, friend or loved one. ‘We want all Australians to take a moment to check in with someone and ask, ‘Are you ok?’ A conversation could change a life,’ she says.
Suicide prevention expert and Chair of the R U OK? Scientific Advisory Group, Professor Graham Martin OAM, says regular connection with family, friends and peers, can help build a stronger and more resilient community; protecting the people we know and love. ‘You don’t have to be an expert to support someone going through a tough time, you just need to BE there, be able to listen without judgment, and take the time to follow up,’ Professor Martin says. ‘It’s very common to feel alone when going through difficult times but helping someone admit they’re not ok is the first step to getting support.’
Fact and figures:
- On average, more than 2,200 Australians suicide each year (ABS 2012)
- 65,000 people attempt suicide each year (Lifeline)
- Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians aged 15 to 34 years (ABS 2012)
- Men account for 75 per cent of all suicide deaths (ABS 2012) and suicide rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are approximately twice those of non-Indigenous Australians.
Source: RU OK?Day