Got a niggling feeling that someone you know or care about it isn't behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they're just not themselves? Trust that gut instinct and act on it.
By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you've noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up. If they say they are not ok, you can follow our conversation steps to show them they're supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are ok, that person will know you're someone who cares enough to ask.
Thursday 13th of September is R U OK? Day – a national day of action that is dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, "Are you ok?" and support those struggling with life. Taking part can be as simple as learning R U OK?'s four steps so you can have a conversation that could change a life:
3. Encourage action
4. Check in
Why is it important?
Suicide prevention is an enormously complex and sensitive challenge the world over. But we also know that some of the world's smartest people have been working tirelessly and developed credible theories that suggest there's power in that simplest of questions - "Are you ok?
One of the most significant theories is by United States academic, Dr Thomas Joiner. Because his father took his own life, Thomas has dedicated his research to try and answer that question "why?"
His theory tries to answer that complex question by describing three forces at play in someone at risk. The first force is the person thinks they're a burden on others; the second is that they can withstand a high degree of pain; and the third is they don't feel connected to others.
It's this lack of connection (or lack of belonging) that R U OK? is trying to address. By inspiring people to take the time to ask "Are you ok?" and listen, we can help people struggling with life feel connected long before they even think about suicide. It all comes down to regular, face-to-face, meaningful conversations about life. And asking "Are you ok?" is a great place to start. Find out how to ask here.
A future vision
R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. Their vision is a world where we're all connected and are protected from suicide. The campaign hopes to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.
As well as helping to start these conversations, R U OK? is working with experts in the field to monitor how these conversations impact on Australia's suicide rate.
Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. You don't need to be an expert - just a good friend and a great listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling - start a conversation.
Although R U OK? Day is the national day of action, every day is the day to start a conversation. Conversation tips and crisis numbers can be found at www.ruok.org.au
If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.
To start a conversation about alcohol and other drugs today visit our support and treatment page here to find the best course of action for you.