Today is R U OK?Day - have you asked someone struggling if they are OK?
Suicide prevention organisation R U OK? is calling on Australia to take a global lead in preventing suicide by making more effort to have regular, meaningful conversations with anyone who might be struggling.
This year, R U OK?Day and World Suicide Prevention Day fall on the same date, drawing attention to Australia's role in addressing this global public health issue. Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis said every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide, and we should all be doing as much as possible to prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness occurring in our community.
"To ensure that people are protected from suicidal thoughts, we need to make a concerted and genuine effort to be there for one another and really walk in one another's shoes," Rebecca said. "R U OK?Day is a national reminder for us all to start a conversation that could change a life."
Australian Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, said that meaningful conversations with family and friends aren't about solving someone's problem; but helping that person feel connected and supported.
"We'll all grapple with tragedy, loss, and grief through life - and many of us will also live with a mental illness," Minister Ley said. "Regular, meaningful conversations are one way we can all support each other cope with change, adversity and illness. If you ask; listen without judgement; encourage action; and follow up, you can make a positive difference to someone’s resilience and wellbeing."
R U OK? are using their 7th national day of action to urge people to say thanks to anyone who’s been there for them during a rough patch or a tough day. R U OK?Day can be the day to start a conversation, as well as celebrate the people who already do that on a regular basis.
"'Thanks For Asking' is all about appealing to people's hearts," Rebecca said. "Whatever the size of the problem, if someone has been there for you, use today to give them a big old-fashioned thanks. We want as many people as possible to head to ruok.org.au and write a special note of thanks to show the world the power of a conversation."
As Australians everywhere support R U OK?Day through events in schools, workplaces and local communities, Suicide Prevention Australia will host leaders in mental health and suicide prevention to launch Australia's first National Research Action Plan. This Plan will help ensure that scarce research dollars are strategically targeted. R U OK? is a member of the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention and supports the Plan.
 Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative World Health Organisation 2014