Know the signs, trust your gut and ask R U OK?
A three-word question that prompts a yes or no response could help save a life – a foundation national suicide prevention charity R U OK? is built on.
September 12 marks “R U OK? Day”, an Australian day of action and 24-hour reminder of the fragility of life.
According to research commissioned by the organisation, nearly two-thirds of Australians are not confident in their ability to identify whether or not someone is struggling.
Of those surveyed, 41 per cent hadn’t asked someone if they were OK because they weren’t sure of the signs.
To boost people’s confidence, R U OK? have embarked on a nine-week “Trust the Signs Tour” to educate communities on when to ask if someone is okay.
R U OK? chief executive officer Katherine Newton said signs could be externalised by what people are saying, what they are doing and what’s going on in their life.
“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference,” Ms Newton said.
“But what we’re hearing, is that people aren’t sure when is the right time to have an R U OK? conversation. Signs can be subtle changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour.
“You might spot a love one is having unusual mood swings, changes in sleep, or a mate might be withdrawing from social situations like not turning up to sport training.
“We’re encouraging people to look out for those cues. We should also make a conscious effort to reach out to someone going through a significant life change such as job loss, relationship breakdown, study pressure or perhaps becoming a parent.”
R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to learn the signs, download a practical toolkit and have regular meaningful conversations across their communities.
More information on how to get involved can be found at ruok.org.au.
For support at any time of the day or night, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.