This year’s message is ‘Are they really OK? Ask them today.’
It is difficult to miss the bright yellow merchandise with the big black letters, R U OK? traditionally displayed around schools, public transport hubs and throughout numerous community events around the country.
Whilst we may not be out in the community to attend events and purchase merchandise like yesteryear, the bold image of the letters, R U OK? immediately brings to mind the bold question, are you really ok?
Take the time to ask your neighbour, friend, family member or colleague if they are indeed ok, and not just once a year. This is a question we all need to ask frequently throughout the year.
Four Steps to start an R U OK? conversation
1) Ask R U OK?
3) Encourage action
4) Check in
So how did R U OK?Day start?
From Gavin Larkin’s heart wrenching devastation from the loss of his father to suicide came the powerful national suicide prevention movement, R U OK? thanks to Gavin’s innate desire to help others.
It all started back in 1995 when much-loved Barry Larkin was far from ok and ended his life. His suicide left family and friends in deep grief and with endless questions.
In 2009, Gavin, a father of three, chose to champion just one question, are you ok, to honour his father and to try and protect other families from the pain his family endured.
While working on a documentary to raise awareness, his team soon realised the documentary alone wouldn’t be enough to genuinely change behaviour Australia-wide. A national campaign was needed.
And from this realisation, with the team’s expertise and passion, R U OK? was born.
Gavin was a passionate champion of the fact a conversation could change a life. He chose suicide prevention as his ‘project’ to inspire and help others. He was a firm believer that getting connected, staying connected, is the best thing to do. To reach out and let people know we care.
By starting a conversation and commenting on any changes you’ve noticed, you could help that person to open up. If they say they are not ok, ruok.org.au has steps to show them they’re supported and strategies available to help better manage the load.
If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who genuinely cares enough to ask. One kind gesture can go a long way.