R U OK? has launched its 'Are they really OK? Ask them today' campaign, to encourage all Australians to think about how the people in their world are truly going.
'Are they really OK? Ask them today', comes in response to new research which found 22 per cent of Australians aren't reaching out to ask 'Are you OK?' because there hasn't been an occasion where they felt someone actually needed their help.
"R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to pause and consider how the people in their world are really going, and to make asking 'Are you OK?', a part of their every day," R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said.
The call comes in the lead up toR U OK?Day, on Thursday, September 9, a national day of action that reinforces the importance of staying connected to your friends, family and colleagues through all life's ups and downs, big or small.
"We want to emphasise that an R U OK? conversation is not only for when someone is visibly distressed or in crisis and remind everyone that their support can make a difference for anyone who is struggling," Ms Newton said.
The research also found that 7 per cent of those surveyed felt it's a conversation you don't need to have unless someone seems to be in a really bad way or in crisis.
"None of us is immune to life's challenges whether that's a relationship breakdown, financial worries, work pressure or, sadly for some, the loss of a loved one," Ms Newton said.
"Sometimes it won't be obvious that someone is having a hard time, but we know that when we ask early and in a genuine way, we can help someone who might be struggling feel connected and supported, long before they are in crisis."
R U OK? will release a range of free resources in the lead up to R U OK?Day including tips and tools to help Australians know when and how to have an R U OK? conversation.
Joining R U OK? to champion the 'Are they really OK? Ask them today' message is Glenn Cotter, an R U OK? community ambassador who is committed to starting R U OK? conversations in his community.
"We all face challenging times and, in my community, it's been a challenging few years," Mr Cotter said.
"We have come out of many years of drought through bushfires into COVID-19, so it was important that we continued to get the R U OK? message out."
He recommended the 'Guide to supporting R U OK?Day'as a good starting point for people wanting to get involved this year.
"Since joining R U OK? in 2018 we have continued to connect our community through a series of family and community days, including events such as the Kameruka Cricket Club Cricket and Conversation Days which began in 2019 and help in getting meaningful conversations started the year round," Mr Cotter said.
"It's such a pleasure to see the confidence growing in our community to support our mates and genuinely ask our mates and family - are you OK?"
It's also important for people to understand that when conversations happen, they do make a difference.
"Research has found 80 per cent of those who have recently spoken to someone about something that's troubling them feel more supported and cared about and 72 per cent said it helped them feel better about themselves and their situation," registered psychologist and suicidologist Ann-Maree Fardell Hartley said.
"Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the people in their world feel connected and supported."
"The free tools and resources that R U OK? have available can help you build your confidence to support your friends, family and colleagues."
"You don't have to be an expert, just a good friend and a great listener."
Download the free resources, including the 'Guide to supporting R U OK?Day' at the website ruok.org.au/join-r-u-ok-day.
For support at any time of day or night, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.