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Start a life-saving conversation
Sharing a connection with someone in an open and honest conversation is proven to boost wellbeing, and there’s an emerging body of research that links supportive social relationships and a sense of social connection with protective factors in suicide prevention.
And it doesn’t take much. According to one organisation, boosting the wellbeing of the people around you who might be struggling with life can start with something as simple as asking, ‘are you okay?’.
On September 13th, one in five Australians are expected to come together and mark R U OK? Day. First launched in 2009, this national day of action is dedicated to helping reduce Australia’s alarming suicide rate.
It’s a heartbreaking reality that, on average, more than 2,200 Australians take their own lives, whilst 65,000 attempt suicide each year. And the numbers spiral when you consider the friends and family left in the wake of suicide. Whilst men account for 75 per cent of all suicide deaths, suicide is the biggest killer of Australians aged 15 to 34 years.
Co-founded by the late Gavin Larkin OAM whose own father took his life 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. By doing so, it’s hoped these numbers will fall.
Having co-founded the initiative alongside Larkin, R U OK? CEO Janina Nearn believes anyone can get involved in the campaign simply by reaching out to a 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.’
Visit www.ruokday.com to register your support or to donate to R U OK? Day.
If you need urgent support or are worried about someone, please contact your local doctor or click here to access a list of agencies that can help. If your need is life threatening, call 000.
About the Author
Lizzy has more than ten years’ experience in the print and digital publishing arena and is the Editor at Single File. Having moved from the UK to Australia in 2008, Lizzy has worked for a number of leading publishers in Sydney and has particular expertise in the health, wellness and travel markets. If you have any questions for Lizzy, you can send them across by email to email@example.com.