Anyone who's bumped into me in the past few months will almost certainly have heard about R U OK?Day, the national suicide prevention initiative that I've started. But, just in case I haven't told you about the campaign, let me give you an outline of what's happening ...
The aim of R U OK?Day is to bring Australians together to help prevent the isolation that can lead to such outcomes as people taking their own lives. The first R U OK?Day on Sunday November 29th will inspire Australians to reach out to anyone doing it tough in order to prevent little problems becoming big ones.
R U OK? Day is for everyone, not just those at obvious risk.
Why am I passionate about this campaign? In April 1995, my father Barry took his own life. Having experienced the devastating impact of a suicide, the collateral damage caused to loved ones and the emotional rollercoaster that the families endure, I was inspired to create R U OK?Day.
To get the word out about R U OK?Day, we've developed a website (www.ruokday.com.au <http://www.ruokday.com.au> ), a TV commercial, print campaign, radio ad, a PR campaign, a Twitter stream, and we're involved in a range of other communications activities including the creation of R U OK? posters which are being distributed to 25,000 GPs and pharmacists around Australia.
On Sunday the 29th via News Ltd’s National newspaper network, we will distribute a ‘how to guide’ to 1 million homes, which helps demystify the subject, equips people to have successful conversations and identifies where to go to get any help that may be necessary.
We have also had over 250 companies register for the corporate initiative – RUOK?Arvo - which happens on the Friday preceding the 29th and is designed to address the impact of this issue on the workplace. Companies such as The Commonwealth Bank, Lion Nathan, Optus, The ABC, News Limited and organizations like the CSIRO, The SA Government and the NSW Fire Brigade have committed their support and are taking part.
If you would like to see your company participate just log onto the website and everything you or your HR Director needs to take part is free and available for download.
The campaign has the backing of the Federal Government and amongst the supporting information partners are beyondblue, Black Dog Institute, Lifeline and Reach Out. On World Suicide Prevention Day in September, the R U OK?Day website was launched at Parliament House by Health Minister Nicola Roxon.
On Sunday 29th, you could help change a life by asking someone who's struggling to cope: "Are you OK?”
Who will you ask?
PS. Please feel free to change the introduction and forward on to friends, relatives and colleagues who may be interested in the chance to change a life.