National suicide prevention charity, R U OK? is urging all Australians to Trust the Signs, Trust your Gut, and Ask, “Are you OK?” to support anyone who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs.
Thursday 12 September is “R U OK?Day”, a national day of action and a reminder that every day is the right day to meaningfully connect with those around us, and ask a question that could change a life, “Are you OK?”
To increase people’s confidence, R U OK? embarked on a nine week ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ travelling around 14,000 km to every state and territory. The Tour will culminate in Sydney on R U OK?Day having engaged 24 communities in an educational experience that explores the signs that indicate someone needs you to ask, “R U OK?”.
Aboriginal Youth Worker and Bachelor fan favourite, Noongar-Yamatji women Brooke Burton is R U OK?’s newest Ambassador. Blurton joined the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ for the Perth leg and will join the R U OK? team at Barangaroo on Thursday 12 September for R U OK?Day.
“I want to empower people with knowledge on the signs someone is struggling, so they can trust their gut instinct and start a conversation that could change a life. You don’t have to be an expert, just a good listener and a good friend.” said Blurton.
R U OK? Community Ambassador Kevin Heath joined the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ from Brisbane right through to Perth, spreading the R U OK? message within schools, businesses and communities. Kevin is a former football player who had to give the game away due to injury. In addition to his day job as an Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer with NSW Health, he runs the Dream Time Academy, where he mentors young athletes in things ranging from goal setting to rugby league training.
“I joined R U OK?’s Trust the Signs Tour because I’m passionate about encouraging our mob to look out for each other. I’m lucky to champion the importance of having these life-saving conversations every day and often people tell me they think they’ve spotted changes in someone they care about, but they aren’t sure,” said Heath.
“We want to empower people with knowledge of the signs someone is struggling, so they can trust their gut instinct and start a conversation that could save a life. You don’t have the be an expert, just a good listener and a good friend.”
Importantly each event on the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ involved mental health, volunteer and suicide prevention organisations connecting with local communities to highlight the support services available to them when an R U OK? conversation is too big for friends and family alone.
The ‘Trust the Signs’ campaign highlights ‘Stronger Together’, R U OK?’s targeted suicide prevention campaign to encourage conversation within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, that launched in March this year.
The campaign includes open source resources available to download free on the R U OK? website.
R U OK?’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group, including Rhanna Collins, Shannan Dodson, Joe Williams, Dwayne Millard, Dr Vanessa Lee, and R U OK? Ambassador Casey Donovan, have thrown their support behind the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ and its ability to further amplify the ‘Stronger Together’ resources within Indigenous communities.
R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to learn the signs, download a practical toolkit and have regular meaningful conversations across their communities. More information on how to get involved can be found at ruok.org.au
For support at any time of the day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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About the R U OK? Trust the Signs Tour:
• R U OK? are calling on Australians to Trust the Signs that someone might be struggling with life.
• R U OK? will take the Trust the Signs message to every state and territory in the build-up to
R U OK?Day (Thursday 12 September).
• The Trust the Signs Tour will involve an educational experience where people can learn more about the signs someone may be struggling with life. Inside a giant installation people can interact with life-size silhouettes and signposts to guide them through what might be going on in someone’s life and what they might say or do if they’re struggling.
• The Trust the Signs Tour will travel around 14,000 km, engaging with 24 communities before completing its journey in Sydney on R U OK?Day.
• On R U OK?Day – our national day of action – R U OK? will remind Australians to Trust the Signs, Trust your Gut and ask, “Are you OK?” of anyone who may be struggling with life.
• R U OK? wish to thank the Trust the Signs Tour partners: Liptember, Flight Centre Foundation, Twinings, Audi Foundation, Top Parks and Virgin Australia.
What are the signs?
What they might say:
• Things that sound more confused or irrational
• Things that indicate a persistent drop in mood
• Complain they have difficulty switching off
• They are struggling to see a future
• They believe they’re a burden on others
• They feel worthless or alone
• They feel trapped or unbearable pain
• Talk about death, suicide and wanting to die
What they might do:
• Change their mood or experience extreme mood swings
• Withdraw or avoid friends, family or social situations
• Change their online behaviour
• Not enjoy hobbies or interests they once did
• Have difficulty concentrating
• Lose interest in maintaining personal hygiene or appearance
• Behave recklessly, including increasing alcohol or drug use
• Change their sleep pattern
What might be going on in their life:
• Relationship breakdown
• Major health issues
• Work or home stress
• Financial difficulty
• Study pressures
• Loss of someone or something they care about
Summary of research findings:
In 2019 R U OK? conducted a national omnibus survey that revealed:
• Approximately two-thirds of people (63%) are not confident they know the signs that someone might be struggling with life
• Of those surveyed 41% hadn’t asked someone if they were OK because they weren’t sure they knew the signs
• But there is hope, with nearly half (49%) believing they’d be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs
The research was conducted on behalf of R U OK? by Colmar Brunton and via the Colmar Brunton and Your Source Omnibus, which interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,026 Australian adults (aged 18+) in May-June 2019. It excludes people who’ve participated in the previous three weeks and data is post weighted to ABS proportions. The margin of error associated with the results is +/- 3.0%.
About R U OK?
• R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.
• R U OK? Day is a national day of action, held on the second Thursday of September each year. But every day is a day to start a conversation.
• Conversation tips and crisis support contacts can be found at ruok.org.au