” This is something we all can do – please use RUOK ? Day to reconnect with mates and family whether it’s by email, a text, on the phone or face to face.’
‘Sometimes people, particularly men, are too shy or too shame to ask for help. That’s when it’s important to check in to see the people we care about are going and let them know you are there for them.”
Apunipima Indigenous Basketball All Star Aaron Bin Tahal is asking people to check in with their friends and family this RUOK? Day (8 September).
#TheEnemyWithin Joe Williams Suicide Prevention
Joe is a proud Wiradjuri, 1st Nations Aboriginal man born in Cowra, Apart from being involved with professional sport for over 15 years, Joe spends his time working to inspire youth through motivational speaking workshops. He has worked with disengaged youth in primary and secondary schools, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres and gaols.
“Every suicide is an absolute tragedy and it breaks my heart that so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities live with this terrible pain. A simple question to ask someone is if they are feeling okay. This is often the first step in helping a person who might be struggling.”
Minister Nigel Scullion press release see in full below
“A frustration I hear when talking to people is they don’t know what to do if the person answers, ‘No, I’m not OK’,”
This year the R U OK? organisation is laudably focusing more on the skills you need to connect and stay connected with someone you suspect is struggling.
The website http://www.ruok.org.au has hints about how to talk to someone who says “No, I am not OK”.
R U OK? general manager Brendan Maher.
What will you do when you ask R U OK? and the answer is “no”?
Be prepared, by becoming an “accidental counsellor”.
You can save a life – how , see article 2 below
Aaron, a guard with Queensland Basketball League champions the Cairns Marlins, has put up his hand to be an RUOK? Ambassador in an effort to support people to reach in, and reach out when they need to.
‘Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do,’ said RUOK? Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis.
‘You don’t need to be an expert – just a great mate and a good listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling – start a conversation.’
RUOK? – a national suicide prevention campaign – is particularly relevant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community: young Indigenous men aged 25-29 have the highest suicide rate in the world.
Overall Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males are nearly twice as likely to take their own lives than non – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (30.5 to 17.0 per 100,000 respectively) while Aboriginal and Torres Strait women are more than twice as likely to do so than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts (12.1 to 5.8 per 100,000 respectively).*
Aaron, a Torres Strait Islander, said he hopes his role as an Ambassador will inspire other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to check in with friends and family.
‘This is something we all can do – please use RUOK? Day to reconnect with mates and family whether it’s by email, a text, on the phone or face to face.’
‘Sometimes people, particularly men, are too shy or too shame to ask for help. That’s when it’s important to check in to see the people we care about are going and let them know you are there for them.’
‘It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to have all the answers – if someone is having a hard time, just listen and let them know you are there. It’s OK to say, ‘I’m not sure how to help but I’m here for you.’ Being there, even if you don’t have all the answers, helps the person in trouble feel less alone and makes a huge difference to the way they see their situation.’
‘I know how hard it is to talk but having a yarn really does help. Check in with each other and remember you are not alone.’
Apunipima Social and Emotional Wellbeing Manager Bernard David said checking in could make all the difference.
‘Even if you feel asking RUOK? is a crazy question, ask it anyway. When we show people we are interested in their lives, they feel loved and needed, and that makes a difference. For those who are struggling, have a think about five people you can reach out to… and don’t forget there are a lot of help lines as well. Please ask for help if you need it.’
If you are affected by this story please contact:
Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelp.com.au
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 http://www.kidshelp.com.au
Video of Aaron, Bernard David and Men’s Health Worker Neil Mayo available upon request or from our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9BIEMjnzOsZKoUgaT0qV2Q
You can save a life – here’s how
What will you do when you ask R U OK? and the answer is “no”? Be prepared, by becoming an “accidental counsellor”.
Published here Alan Stokes
On today hundreds of thousands of Australians will connect with a loved one, friend, colleague or even a long-lost mate by asking a simple question: R U OK?
For eight years this great initiative has helped many people struggling with life’s problems or living with mental health issues.
Asking about suicide is one of the most difficult but important skills anyone can learn.
Everyone should ask R U OK? – or even better, ask something more, all year round, whenever your gut instinct tells you someone needs help.
But what if you ask R U OK? and the person answers, “Yeah, I’m OK”?
They might be, but they might not be, either. They might simply be too embarrassed or overwhelmed to open up.
That doubt – is the person really OK? – is one missing piece of the R U OK? initiative.
One in five Australians lives with a mental illness each year. Sane Australia says about one in seven people with serious mental illness will die by suicide – that’s 15 times the suicide rate in the general population.
Many other Australians suicide when in crisis over domestic violence, relationship problems, grief, alcohol/drug abuse, gambling or financial stress.
More than 2800 people die by suicide in Australia each year. That is about eight on R U OK?Day and a further eight on every single day this and every year.
We need to do more to save lives – and we can.
R U OK? is only the start of the conversation that can save many of those people and their families by giving them help and reasons to live.
“A frustration I hear when talking to people is they don’t know what to do if the person answers, ‘No, I’m not OK’,” says R U OK? general manager Brendan Maher.
This year the R U OK? organisation is laudably focusing more on the skills you need to connect and stay connected with someone you suspect is struggling. The website http://www.ruok.org.au has hints about how to talk to someone who says “No, I am not OK”.
But it takes real skill to identify and talk to someone who is struggling so much that he or she is at significant risk of suicide.
A disclosure here: I volunteer as a Lifeline telephone crisis supporter. Like thousands of colleagues across the nation, I answer calls from people who ring Lifeline on 13 11 14 when they are in crisis. Sometimes it’s about mental health but most critically it’s when suicide is possible.
Lifeline crisis supporters undertake many hours of training. They take hundreds of calls. They constantly upgrade their skills.
When someone is in crisis, calling Lifeline or similar crisis lines manned by trained supporters provides a strong opportunity to keep the person safe until the immediate crisis is relieved and longer term support found.
But when you ask a friend or workmate R U OK? and get the answer “No”, the person may be in dire need then and there.
What skills do you have to save that person?
Maher says everyone has to acknowledge that many conversations “are going to be too difficult to navigate in a big way. R U OK? does not solve people’s problems. We are encouraging action and many people who ask refer their friends to Lifeline or another service provider.”
That’s fine, laudable and very worthwhile – as far as it goes.
But every Australian is capable of learning simply, quickly and cheaply the key skills that will equip them to prevent suicide, beyond asking R U OK?
You need to know how and when to ask one of life’s most difficult yet important questions: “Are you thinking about suicide now?”
And if the answer is yes to suicide, you need to know how to ask whether the person has an idea about where and how they might do it.
And you need to know how to help disable their plan so further help can be found.
Research shows that talking and asking about suicide will not put the thought into someone’s head. It will, in the vast majority of cases, make the person in crisis recognise that you care, there is hope and there is help.
Some Lifeline centres run short courses to teach those skills to you, no matter your background or life experience. The courses are titled “Accidental Counsellor”. Here’s one: lifelinenb.org.au/news/accidental-counsellor-training
Lifeline runs the courses for companies, clubs, groups and schools, as well as individuals.
If “accidental counsellors” spread the word and their skills through every community in Australia, hundreds of suicides will be prevented each year.
To mark this R U OK?Day and World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, please connect with a loved one.
But also take the next step. Find the missing piece in suicide prevention. Become an accidental counsellor.
Such is life …
Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion
Today is R U OK? Day – a day to reach out to people you know, from family, to friends and work colleagues, to ask if they are okay.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, who is a Conversation Hero with the R U OK? organisation, said that having a simple conversation with someone could help to prevent a small problem from becoming a bigger one.
Minister Scullion said suicide rates were twice as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as for non-Indigenous Australians, with the highest rates occurring before the age of 40.
“Every suicide is an absolute tragedy and it breaks my heart that so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities live with this terrible pain,” Minister Scullion said.
“A simple question to ask someone is if they are feeling okay. This is often the first step in helping a person who might be struggling.”
Today is also a reminder of why the Coalition Government made an election commitment to roll out Indigenous Mental Health First Aid training to remote communities.
“The Indigenous Mental Health First Aid training that we are rolling out will help communities identify the early warning signs of mental health issues in their friends and families and equip people with the knowledge and training about how best to help,” Minister Scullion said.
R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring more Australians to ask family and friends who might be struggling if they are okay. Tips on how to start a conversation are available at: ruok.org.au