National R U OK? Day September 12
We’ve all mostly seen the bright yellow merchandise with the big black letters, R U OK? proudly displayed at schools, around public transport hubs and throughout numerous community events around the country.
And you may have asked your neighbour, a friend or a colleague if they are indeed ok when prompted from the awareness campaigns. But this is not a question to be asked just once a year, rather a question we all need to ask frequently throughout the year.
Four Steps to start an R U OK? conversation
1) Ask R U OK?
3) Encourage action
4) Check in
But how did it all start?
From Gavin Larkin’s heart wrenching devastation from the loss of his father to suicide, came the powerful national suicide prevention movement, R U OK? thanks to Gavin’s innate desire to help others.
It all started back in 1995 when much-loved Barry Larkin was far from ok and ended his life. His suicide left family and friends in deep grief and with endless questions.
In 2009, Gavin, a father of three, chose to champion just one question, are you ok?, to honour his father and to try and protect other families from the pain his family endured.
While working on a documentary to raise awareness, his team soon realised the documentary alone wouldn’t be enough to genuinely change behaviour Australia-wide. A national campaign was needed.
And from this realisation, with the team’s expertise and passion, R U OK? was born.
Gavin was a passionate champion of the fact a conversation could change a life. He chose suicide prevention as his ‘project’ to inspire and help others. He was a firm believer that getting connected, staying connected, is the best thing to do. To reach out and let people know we care.
By starting a conversation and commenting on any changes you’ve noticed, you could help that person to open up. If they say they are not ok, ruok.org.au has steps to show them they’re supported and strategies available to help better manage the load.
If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who genuinely cares enough to ask. One kind gesture can go a long way.
R U OK legacy
In 2011, one week after R U OK? Day in September, Gavin tragically lost his battle with cancer. Shortly after, his eldest son also lost his battle with cancer.
It is fair to say that Gavin would be so proud of his legacy, R U OK?, this national Conversation Movement that is equipping Australians with the skills and confidence to support those struggling with life.
Sometimes we’re not ok. Life stresses affect everyone at some stage. That simple question are you ok? could literally mean the world and change a life. So ask the question all year round, not just this September 12.
Visit ruok.org.au for further information regarding suicide prevention, awareness campaign events, merchandise or to make a donation. You can make a difference.