Today marks the annual R U OK? Day, a day designed to encourage friends to check in with one another.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around eight Australians commit suicide every day.
R U OK? is one of many organisations that seek to lower this figure, with the organisation holding the annual R U OK? Day on the second Thursday of September to remind everyone to check in with one another.
Campaign director for R U OK?, Rebecca Lewis believes that fostering a culture of communication and healthy relationships can make a difference.
“We need to encourage people to talk about the ups and downs every day. Not just when people have anxiety and depression. We need to talk about relationship breakdowns, talk about bad exam marks, feeling incompetent at work” she said.
“Getting in early can make a huge difference.”
The day has been held annually since 2009 and Ms Lewis stated it’s different from other organisations doing valuable work in the field of mental health in the sense that R U OK? focuses on actively seeking people to ask those in their lives if they are ok.
Bria Sherrington was just 15 when she was diagnosed with an eating disorder that stems from anxiety, and believes initiatives such as R U OK? day can really help those who are suffering.
“I believe initiatives like R U OK? day are an important step in making mental illness a common place discussion.It’s vitally important to be connected with your friends, family and colleagues and sometimes just asking can make a huge impact on someones well-being” she said.
“One of my most positive treatment plans utilised engaging with others and expressing how my condition affects my life as a form of managing my condition.”
“We so regularly talk of physical injury and its impacts however our most vital organ and its ailments are left in the attic; a conversation to be had in whispers or on a leather chair!”
The rate of suicide and attempted suicide is alarmingly high, therefore it is important to make a change, even the simpler acts like turning to a friend and asking them “Are you ok?”
For those unsure on how to approach a friend they feel may be struggling they can visit Ask a Mate- R U OK?.
If this article has raised any concerns for you or someone you care about please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.