Suicide is the number one cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with around eight people a day taking their own lives.
Suicide is not only a tragedy for the individual, but every suicide creates a huge ripple effect, with repercussions for friends, families and the wider community.
Mental health issues are likely to affect around 50% of the Australian population at some stage during their lives, with suicide sometimes being the tragic result. Asking someone if they’re OK may sound a little simplistic, but it may just be the catalyst they need to seek help and get their life back on track.
R U OK? is a question Gavin Larkin wished he had asked before his father committed suicide in 1995. Founder of the not-for-profit organisation R U OK?, Gavin chose to champion this one simple question to honour his father and to try and protect others from the pain he and his family endured.
R U OK? works with experts in suicide prevention and mental illness, government departments, business leaders, universities and community groupsto further R U OK?'s vision to see a world where we're all connected and protected from suicide. Their mission is to inspire and empower people to reach out and connect with others around them and support anyone struggling with life.
What is R U OK? Day?
R U OK? Day is held on the second Thursday in September each year and is a national reminder for people to take notice of their family, friends and colleagues and if someone seems to have something troubling them, to ask them the question R U OK?
Connecting regularly and meaningfully with someone who is struggling is one thing everyone can do, and these three simple words could have the ability to turn someone’s life around. People are also encouraged to hold a fundraising event on the day at their home, school, workplace or club to raise awareness and funds for mental illness and suicide prevention.
How can you get involved?
You can get involved on R U OK? Day by being observant in your circle of friends and colleagues and if you think someone might have a problem, asking the question R U OK? They may not wish to talk about it if they do have an issue and that’s okay as well. The fact that you have asked may spur them on to seek professional help elsewhere.
You can also participate on the day by organising an awareness and fundraising event in your local community. This could include a barbeque, sausage sizzle, golf day, dinner party, charity auction, morning or afternoon tea; practically anything you can think of. R U OK? will be happy to support you by supplying you with promotional materials when you register your event on their website.
- To find out more about R U OK? Day, go to https://www.ruok.org.au/