News

Locals encouraged to ask: R U OK?

By Charmayne Allison

ARE you OK?

It's a question that could change a life.

And on Thursday, September 12, locals are urged to ask it.

R U OK? Day is a national day of action and a reminder every day is the right day to meaningfully connect with others and ask if they are okay.

Research commissioned by suicide prevention charity R U OK? has found nearly two-thirds of Australians are not confident they know the signs that someone might be struggling with life.

Of those surveyed, 41 per cent hadn’t asked someone if they were OK because they weren’t sure they knew the signs.

However, almost half believed they’d be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs.

“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference," R U OK? chief executive Katherine 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.

“This R U OK? Day, we want 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.”

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, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.