Locals ask, “are you ok?”

By Corowa Free Press

“Are you ok?” was the question being asked out the front of Corowa IGA last Thursday to remind locals that every day is the day to meaningfully connect with those we care about and start a conversation that could change a life.

Locals from both the Men’s Shed and Intereach were down at the supermarket handing out sausages and free coffee as a segue way into a conversation about people’s mental health.

 “We’ve been handing out free coffee all morning and asking everybody – are you okay?” Amber Murphy from Intereach said.

“it’s important to start normalising this kind of conversation so it can happen every day, not just on R U Okay? Day.”

The sausages and coffee were donated by IGA in support of a good cause, Corowa store manager Craig Waldron said.

“To tie in with our plant sale it was great to have some guys from the Men’s Shed come down to raise some money as well as the ladies from Intereach to be here raising awareness for R U OK? Day,” he said.

“We’re more than happy to donate the sausages and coffee to these people who are giving their own time for a great cause.”

To help people navigate the conversation, R U OK? On Thursday launched an innovative voice technology resource available to all Australians whenever and wherever they choose.

‘RUOK Mate’ is an Action on Google, created and developed for R U OK? by creative agency The Works. 

The tool provides strategies on what to do if someone says, ‘No, I’m not ok’.

Anyone who might be worried about family, friends or colleagues can access the interactive conversation scenarios on their Google Home or Google Assistant enabled smartphone or device by simply saying “Hey Google, talk to RUOK Mate”.

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton says it’s important to deliver the R U OK? message to people in ways that keep pace with changing technology.

“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference. We are focused on building confidence in people, so they know when and how to have an R U OK? conversation,” said Newton.

“It’s vital we utilise new ways to build that confidence and ‘RUOK Mate’ has the potential to do that in a way that we have not seen before. We hope to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life.”

communities. Research commissioned by R U OK? earlier this year found:

·      Nearly two-thirds of Australians (63%) were not confident they knew the signs that someone might be struggling with life.

·      But encouragingly of those surveyed, almost half (49%) believe they’d be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs.

To build Australia’s confidence, R U OK? have taken the ‘Trust the Signs’ message more than 17,000km to every state and territory on a nine-week educational tour from coastlines to canola fields, cities to country towns, to help people know when it’s the right time to start an R U OK? conversation.

R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to learn the signs, talk to the ‘RUOK Mate’ Action on Google, download a practical toolkit and start regular meaningful conversations throughout their communities. For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.