Yesterday, (second Thursday of September) was Australia’s national R U OK?Day.
I actually had no idea until my brother, who’s in Canada, posted the question on my FB wall and informed me. Like him, I too think it’s a great idea.
(Info below is taken from RUOKday.com, please visit their website for more!)
R U OK?Day was inspired by the death of Barry Larkin (1940 – 1995).
Barry was a fascinating and successful business management consultant who took his own life. His son Gavin Larkin (1968-2011) partnered with television producer Janina Nearn in 2008 to develop a campaign that would inspire Australians to stay connected and support people.
This day of action is dedicated to inspiring all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask their friends, family, and colleagues, ‘Are you ok?’
By regularly reaching out to one another and having open and honest conversations, we can all help build a more connected community and reduce our country’s high suicide rate.
More than 2,200 Australians suicide each year and men are around 3 times more likely to die by suicide than females. For each person that takes their life, another 30 people attempt to end their own life.
Most people don’t openly share their feelings, particularly if they’re struggling. The best thing we can all do is regularly talk to the people we care about – regardless of whether they are at risk – because connection is good for us all.
Now that I am aware of this cause, I have to say that it is close to my heart.
I have gone through a few really hard times (not suicidal ideation, not necessarily depression) during which I felt like I couldn’t or shouldn’t try reaching out to someone for help and support. Some people think that it’s because a person doesn’t have a good social support network and therefore no one to talk to, but that’s not always the case. I have an amazing group of friends and family I know would be there for me in a heartbeat, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to reach out to them.
My friends have important exams, I want them concentrating 100% on their studies. My family is already having a hard time dealing with the same situation, I don’t want to burden them even further. My friends have never gone through this experience, they cannot fully understand how I feel. The reasons can go on and on.
It can be a struggle to open up to others and I will be forever grateful to the times when my friends took the initiative to ask me if I was alright. And I will continue to pay that forward.
It doesn’t have to lead to, or be as serious as depression, to warrant the question, “Are you okay?” And it certainly doesn’t have to be only one day a year!
So… who will you ask today?