R U OK Day? is one of the most important dates in our yearly calendar. The ACA acknowledges that mental health is extraordinarily important and as an Association, we want to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of our members and staff are at the forefront of everything we do.
Whether it’s patients or colleagues, friends or family, chances are that you will know someone currently experiencing poor mental health. While mental health challenges are sometimes noticeable, and people feel comfortable talking about them – there are many who go unnoticed and suffer in silence.
Held on 8 September, R U OK Day? is a day dedicated to inspiring and empowering Australians to meaningfully connect with the people around them by asking the one simple question ‘Are you Ok?’. Not only is it a day of action, but it is also a day to recognise the complexities of mental health and the importance of checking in with friends, family, and colleagues alike.
Furthermore, it is a pivotal focus of this campaign that Australians are reminded that every day is a good day to ask ‘are you okay?’ if someone you know is struggling with life’s ups and downs.
R U OK? Inspires and empowers people from all walks of life to start a conversation with those around them who may be struggling with their own mental health and wellbeing. Asking if someone is okay could ignite a conversation that could potentially change somebody’s life forever and even prevent suicide.
R U OK? was actually founded in 2009 to help with suicide prevention. Co-founder Gavin Larkin OAM wanted to help protect families from the same pain his family had suffered from his own father’s suicide. Now known as the R U OK charity, the goal each year is to run this campaign that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations that could help others through challenging times.
In 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that within Australia, eight people take their lives every single day. This is an incredibly alarming and sad figure. Equally disturbing, for every death by suicide, it is estimated that thirty people will attempt to take their life in Australia and 89% of people, know someone personally, who has made a suicide attempt.
Like many, the ACA believes participating in this campaign is a very worthwhile cause. We too want to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues and play a big role in asking our own members and staff: R U OK?
Don’t wait until someone’s visibly distressed or in crisis. Make a moment meaningful and ask them how they’re really going. Sometimes, it’s not always easy to keep the conversation going when someone is not okay, however, there are four easy steps to follow.
- Ask ‘R U OK?’
- Listen with an open mind
- Encourage action
Remember, the most important factor is to ask whether someone is okay in a ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’ manner and to then listen to their reply with a completely open mind. So, let’s put an end to stigmas surrounding mental health and check in with our family, friends, and colleagues not just on 8 September, but every day. You never know, how much a moment of kindness and generosity can change a person’s life forever.
For more information and resources, visit ruok.org.au