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Make Sure you Ask R U OK?

While there should not be a special day, today is the day all people should speak out and help their mates by asking RU OK?

Today is RU OK? Day and CEO Janina Nearn said asking the questions regularly is a way we can make a difference to the issue of suicide in Australia; the leading case of death for people aged between 15 and 44 years.

New research conducted by the R U OK? Foundation shows that more than 90 per cent of Australians feel they should ask friends who are struggling ‘are you ok?’, no matter how tough the conversation.

‘This R U OK?Day, we’re encouraging Australians not only to start a conversation that counts with someone who might be feeling overwhelmed, lonely or stressed, but also to be ready to give their time, show empathy, listen without judgment and help their peers identify possible next steps. “Also make sure you follow up,” Ms Nearn said.

US researcher and leading suicide expert, Dr. Thomas Joiner, said research supports the idea that everyone can play a small but significant role in helping people struggling with life.

“Having regular, face-to-face conversations can enhance a person’s sense of belonging, which is a critical protective factor for preventing suicide. “Even if that person isn’t ready to talk about their experiences when you ask the question, you can still help them to feel connected and valued,”‘ Dr Joiner said.

The 2013 R U OK?Day campaign aims to inspire people to dig a little deeper when having a conversation and is being supported by actors Simon Baker, Jack Thompson and Alex O’Loughlin and sporting legends Tom Raudonikas, Darryl Brohman, Ben Tune, Wendell Sailor and Libby Trickett.

“An estimated 65,000 people attempt to take their lives every year in Australia,” Ms Nearn said. “By having meaningful conversations with one another, we can build a society where everyone feels they belong and help prevent suicide.”

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Alana Lowes

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