September 12th is R U Ok Day – and in the current framework of today’s society – statistics have shown that more often than not many of us, and close friends and family are not ok. And people are often silently begging for the question to be asked of them.
Statistics in Australia state that almost half of (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Suicide rates have increased, as has reliance on medication. More and more people are being subscribed medication each day.
Research from the Black Dog Institute states every day, at least six Australians die from suicide. Attempted suicide is also an important issue with estimates that in Australia around 65,300 people a year attempt to take their own lives, the majority being women.
R U OK Day was established after a young man’s father committed suicide years prior – he realised that a simple conversation may have helped his father and his family.
The charity was borne from the need to spark conversation, allow people to ask for help, and provide resources to support this process.
R U OK?’s vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide.
The mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.
The charity’s goals are to:
- Boost our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and downs
- Nurture our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others
- Strengthen our sense of belonging because we know people are there for us
- Be relevant, strong and dynamic
In a highly demanding occupation such as child care, where stress can build and not be recognised immediately because educators and staff are often the ones caring for others predominantly, people need to ever aware. Conversations with families are also very important – Educators and Staff may be some families only check in point.
A place where asking the question “Are you ok?” can really work is in the workplace. As employers or staff, we can all create a culture where people feel confident asking and answering this simple yet important question. Besides our legal responsibility of providing a safe and healthy workplace, these conversations can make a real difference to staff going through a tough time.
Some basic steps to get you started –
- Encourage Action
- Check In
The R U Ok website has some very useful resources available to download – www.ruok.org.au/work
Remember three words can make a difference in someone’s life – follow your instincts and be sure to ask the question.
The TEG Team