People all over Australia are preparing for the annual R U OK? Day this Thursday (September 8). An important initiative for dealing with the issue and stigma of mental health problems throughout our society, this day is an excellent opportunity for social groups and workplaces to help address a problem that touches many more people than you might realise.
Read on to find out more about the day, the organisation that runs it, and how you and your colleagues can get involved.
About R U OK?
Since its foundation in 2009, R U OK? has been working to raise awareness and start conversations about suicide and mental health. They are a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to remind people to watch out for each other – even with issues that aren’t always easy to spot. By encouraging people to have regular real-life conversations and develop meaningful relationships, R U OK? hopes to help Australians cope with the emotional roller coaster that life inevitably is.
R U OK? has a large number of business sponsors and celebrity sponsors, including Hungry Jack’s, Hugh Jackman, Virgin Mobile, Libby Trickett, and the Australian Government’s Department of Health.
Why Is This Important?
Suicide affects individuals, families, and communities in a very real way. With more than 2,000 Australians taking their own lives every year, this really is an issue that needs to be handled with care rather than swept under the rug. By bringing mental illnesses out into the open and addressing them as a society, we can equip people with the skills, the fortitude, and – most importantly – the support network to deal with the tough circumstances that come their way.
Along with schools and communities in general, workplaces are one of the focus areas that R U OK? Day is designed for. This is certainly a good thing, as a person’s work can have a major influence on their overall mental well-being.
What Can You Do at Work?
The core way you can participate in R U OK? Day is by starting a conversation. It’s that simple. If you suspect a friend at work is struggling, ask them if they are okay. Listen to them and talk openly about how they could approach the issues they are experiencing. If suicide is a stigmatised issue in your workplace, begin a discussion with your colleagues; knowing that it’s alright to open up about their feelings at work could really change somebody’s life.
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