Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Make a change - reach out on RUOK? Day to help suicide prevention | National News |
THREE words. One question. A life changed. Today is RUOK? Day, a national day of action for suicide prevention.
Across Australia, people are asking their families, friends and colleagues a very simple question: "Are you OK?".

Why ask? Because research shows there is no harm in taking a real interest in how someone else is feeling - in fact the conversation could change a life or even save one.

If you're planning to reach out today to someone who might be struggling to cope, I'd like to thank you. I wish I'd had the chance.

In 1995 my father, Barry, took his own life. It was a shock to everyone. My dad was a highly regarded, successful business management consultant. No one realised he was doing it tough; perhaps because no one thought to ask him: "Are you OK, Baz?"

Having experienced the devastating impact of that suicide, I felt I had to get people to talk about the subject. That's why I founded the national suicide prevention initiative, RUOK? Day (www.

I'm glad I did. The feedback we get is proof that it's an idea whose time has come.

Of course, there are pluses and minuses. We recognise that this is a country with a tradition of mateship, of looking after each other in good times and bad. But we also know that many Australians don't like to make a fuss. "She'll be right," we often say. But what if it's not?

Today is the day to find out.

As you'll discover, you won't create a problem by asking "Are you OK?" Our advisers, Lifeline, tell us that genuinely engaging with a person at risk can reduce that risk.

We have also received guidance from beyondblue, Black Dog Institute, headspace, LifeForce, Mindframe, National Prescribing Service, Reach Out, SANE Australia and Suicide Prevention Australia.

RUOK?'s role is to raise awareness, while our partners are in the field every day. We could not have launched the initiative without their help.
Ways for you to connect

HOW to connect with someone on RUOK? Day . . .

1. Act now

Don't wait. If you see signs such as behaviour change or mood swings, or detect feelings of hopelessness, then act.

2. Be receptive

Put the invitation out there: "I've got time to talk". Maintain eye contact and sit in a relaxed position.

3. Break the ice

Use open-ended questions such as "So tell me about . . .?" which require more than a "yes" or "no" answer.

4. Listen

Listen to what a person is saying, be open-minded and non-judgmental. Sometimes, people are not always seeking advice, but they just need to talk about their concerns.

5. Safety first

If your concerns are real, don't leave the person alone. Remove any means of self-harm available.

6. Good advice

Encourage a healthy lifestyle – eating well and exercise plus regular sleep are the best ways to cope with tough times.

7. Act

No matter where you live, the person at risk can get help from a range of professional and supportive people.

8. Seek assurances

Thoughts of suicide often return. Emotions fluctuate, situations change. Ask them to promise to seek help again.