ABOUT seven people take their own lives every day in Australia and more than 65,000 people attempt suicide each year.
Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians under 44 years and today is the day to ask: R U OK?
R U OK? day is an annual event aimed at preventing suicide by making more effort to have regular, meaningful conversations with anyone who might be struggling.
The role of the national campaign in tackling this issue is to help all Australian's to stop feeling loneliness and isolation and reduce the stigma around around mental illness and suicide.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman is just one of many who have thrown their support behind R U OK?
How to ask R U OK?
The R U OK? website suggests the following four steps:
1. Ask R U OK? and help them open up by asking questions like "How you going?" or "What's been happening?" or mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like "I've noticed that you seem really tired recently" or "You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?".
2. Listen without judgement and show you've listened by checking that you've understood by saying things like "It sounds like you're juggling a few things at the moment and you're feeling really stretched".
If they get angry or upset, stay calm and don't take it personally. Let them know you're asking because you care and acknowledge that times seem tough for them.
3. Encourage action by helping them think about one or two things that can be done to better manage the situation.
Ask "What can I do to help you get through this?" or "How would you like me to support you?" and if necessary, encourage them to see a doctor or other professional.
This is particularly important if they've been feeling really down for more than two weeks. You can find all sorts of help here: ruok.org.au/find-help
4. Follow up. Call them in a couple of weeks or if they're really struggling, follow up with them sooner. Say something like, "I've been thinking of you and wanted to know how you've been going since we last chatted." and ask if they've found a better way to manage the situation.
The R U OK? website has listed the following organisations to help those needing crisis intervention or expert counselling.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Full list of help agencies can be found here: ruok.org.au/find-help
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