Today is R U OK? Day and Burnett Today is encouraging all Burnett residents to learn what to say if someone in their life says they’re not OK.
Thousands of COVID safe or virtual activities will be hosted by suicide prevention networks, social and sports clubs, community groups, workplaces and schools across the nation today to mark this national day of action.
R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton says we can be a safety net for people who might be struggling with life.
“We need to be genuine when we ask R U OK?, to let people know we’re there to listen, that we won’t judge them and that people can find pathways to support and recovery when they’re struggling,” said Ms Newton. “We’re encouraging everyone to learn that there’s more to say after R U OK? because a conversation really can change a life.
“We’re calling on Australians who are well and able, to check in with someone, reach out and meaningfully ask are you OK? not just today but every day,” said Ms Newton.
“This is about caring for someone in your world. It’s about looking out for your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbours.”
In Australia in 2018 3,046 people died by suicide.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged 15-44 in Australia and for each life lost the impact is felt by up to 135 others including family members, work colleagues, friends and emergency services workers.
Recent evaluation measures released by R U OK? show that among those people aware of
R U OK? most feel confident they know how to have a conversation with someone who might be struggling with life. However, 31 per cent lack confidence or are unsure they know how to have a conversation with someone who says they are not OK.
“We understand that sometimes people might feel a little uncomfortable or awkward if someone says they’re not okay,” said Ms Newton.
“But you don’t have to be an expert to keep the conversation going.”
R U OK? wants people to become familiar with what to say after hearing “No, I’m not OK” so they can show genuine intent and help someone access appropriate support long before they’re in crisis.
Josie Larkin, 18, is the daughter of R U OK? founder, Gavin Larkin who died of cancer in 2011.
She says her father’s message is even more important than ever.
“My dad Gavin started R U OK? because he understood that human connection can get us through anything,” said Ms Larkin.
“Connecting with other people when we can see that they’re not doing too well is one thing we can all do to help change a life.
“By reaching out to those we care about, we can help them feel connected and supported, when they are going through a tough time, they know that we’re there for them,” she said.
R U OK? want Australians to be confident they can have a meaningful conversation and if someone says they’re not OK, make time to listen with an open mind, encourage action and regularly check in.
‘There’s more to say after R U OK?’ Learn what to say next at www.ruok.org.au.