Australia asks ‘R U OK?’ on September 12

Australia prepares for 'R U OK? Day'. Source: Richard Foster via Flickr

Australia prepares for ‘R U OK? Day’. Source: Richard Foster via Flickr

TESS BROOKS

The fifth national R U OK? Day will be held next Thursday September 12 with the foundation urging Australians get involved and ask a friend or family member ‘are you ok?’

A study conducted by the R U OK? Foundation revealed more than 90 per cent of Australians believe it is important to talk to friends who are struggling, no matter how hard the conversation may be.

R U OK? CEO Janina Nearn said suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44 in Australia.

“An estimated 65,000 people attempt to take their lives every year in Australia,” Ms Nearn said.

The R U OK? Foundation bases their strategic approach to suicide on expert Dr Thomas Joiner’s theory that having a meaningful face-to-face conversation can help address any issue a struggling friend or family member may have.

Dr Joiner said regular conversations could enhance a person’s sense of belonging, a critical protective factor in suicide prevention.

“Even if that person isn’t ready to talk about their experiences when you ask the question, you can still help them to feel connected and valued,” Dr Joiner said.

Ms Nearn said the national day was a reminder for people to reach out to loved ones all year round.

“By having meaningful conversations with one another, we can build a society where everyone feels they belong and help prevent suicide,” he said.

For more information on R U OK? Day and tips on how to start a conversation with family members and friends visit the organisations website.

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