R U OK? A conversation could change a life

Asking R U OK? could change a life

Are you okay? It’s a simple question, but a conversation could change a life.

R U OK? Day on 8 September 2016 is about reaching out to your community, whether it be at school, in the workplace, at home or at university, and asking ‘Are you okay?’.

Our latest Needs Assessment report revealed that, in the Northern Sydney region, 12% of people have a long-term mental health condition. Suicide and self harm were identified as a key mental health need, particularly among young people aged 15-19. Depression and anxiety are the most commonly diagnosed conditions.

It can be difficult to envisage what someone is going through if you don’t ask. So reach out, listen and don’t judge. Often, the simple knowledge that people are there for us and willing to listen can be immensely comforting.

If you don’t know how to start the conversation, the R U OK? website suggests some simple steps to follow to help you prepare. There’s also a guide for the workplace on ‘how to ask staff R U OK?’, which includes changes to look out for in behaviour, mood and physical appearance if you think someone needs help, and tips for how to manage emotional reactions in a conversation.

Here are some options for how you can get involved:

R U OK? envisions a world where we’re all connected and protected from suicide. For this vision to be realised, these conversations need to be ongoing, regular and meaningful – and not simply limited to the annual R U OK? Day.

For crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.