R U OK? is a charity that aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect and support each other. The organisation believes that the simple question of "Are you OK?" can make a world of difference to someone who is struggling with life. This year, R U OK? Day is taking place on 14 September and is intended as a national day of action where Australians take the time to ensure the well-being of their workmates, friends and family. Here are some ways you can participate in the upcoming R U OK? Day.
Before you start asking questions, it's a good idea to know what you're going to say. The R U OK? website has a whole bunch of resources to give you a better understanding of mental illness and how to appropriately respond when you encounter someone who is struggling. By just filling out an online form, you can get the R U OK? Mateship manual delivered to you for free. There is also a wide range of kits, videos and guides that look at making connections in different environments, including work, school and university.
ASK THE QUESTION
Let's get down to the simple (but big) question. To start off with, you'll need to make sure you're in the right frame of mind to be asking the question in the first place. It’s okay if you don't think you're the right person for the job - think of someone else who would be a good alternative. Once you’ve decided you're the right person, approach in a relaxed, friendly manner and ask them how they're feeling. Ease up if you feel they don't want to continue the conversation – this is a conversation that cannot be forced, but you should let them know that you’re there if they need to chat. Listen carefully without judging and encourage action by suggesting coping strategies. In some cases, you can recommend a health professional. Make sure to set aside some time to check in with the individual over the next couple of weeks (or sooner, depending on the situation). Seek professional help if you’re overwhelmed, if the person has appeared low for over two weeks or if they’re at risk.
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The money that you donate to R U OK? goes towards creating new campaigns and free resources, expanding campaign reach and conducting research and evaluations to create more effective strategies. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.
HOST YOUR OWN EVENT
Hosting your own event is a fabulous way to celebrate R U OK? Day. If you’re struggling to think of event ideas, R U OK? has you sorted with a free Event Pack to download from their website. Whether it’s a casual barbecue or a luncheon, register your event so that R U OK? can support you.
Chat with your neighbours about everything from local issues to bin collection.
STOCK UP ON MERCHANDISE
Buying merchandise is similar to donating, except you get some pretty cool stuff in return! Deck yourself out in R U OK?’s signature yellow, with T-Shirts, wristbands, umbrellas and more. Why not offer an item as a gift and a means of starting a conversation with someone you’re worried about?