Start a conversation, change a life: R U OK?Day

Just one conversation can change a life.

Start yours on September 8, 2016.

What is R U OK?Day

R U OK?Day is a global movement, built on the theory that suggests the inherent power in the simplest of questions: “Are you ok?”

Always the second Thursday in September, R U OK?Day is a day dedicated to checking in with your friends, family, colleagues and community.

The founders of R U OK?Day believe preventing suicide begins with the small step of reaching out to people in your circle and checking in with them.

Facts about suicide in Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics keeps data about suicide to help inform and educate both the public and health professionals.

According to their recent figures, the average age people take their own life is 44.5, and almost three times more males take their own lives.

In 2014, there were an average of 7.8 deaths by suicide in Australia each day – a sobering figure that indicates just how prominent this public health concern is in today’s society.

Why do we need R U OK? Day?

Not everyone who is struggling has the strength to reach out. That’s why suicide prevention relies on people like you who are able to identify the signs and ask people if they are really okay.

Recent research conducted by R U OK? showed that Australians spend more time on their digital devices than with family and friends – meaning we’re all spending less and less time connecting with the people who really matter to us.

R U OK? Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis called this a big “wakeup call” and said that “we all need to shift that balance and invest some of our screen time into our relationships and the people around us.”

How to ask: R U OK?

Knowing where to begin can be challenging for many of us. How can we broach the subject gently and sensitively? Recently, R U OK? hosted a Facebook Q&A to help provide information about how to start the conversation, get past a mate’s bravado, and provide ongoing support.

You can view the Q&A on the R U OK? Website (
How to get involved in R U OK?Day

  • Ask a mate – if you notice something is not right with someone in your community, reach out and talk to them. Tell them you’ve noticed the changes and reassure them you’re there for them.
  • Join the day – subscribe at for the latest updates for events happening around the country on September 8.
  • Champion the message – you don’t need to wait for the specific day to get started. With the help of year-round resources from R U OK?, you can champion the message in your workplace, school and community.
  • Host an event – Whether it’s a morning tea, a sausage sizzle or a team picnic, you can encourage people to part of your awareness and fundraising efforts.
  • Join a fundraising event – you can run for the R U OK? cause in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, The Age Run Melbourne, The Sun-Herald City2Surf, and Tough Mudder.
  • Donate – donating to the R U OK? cause helps to grow the charity’s team so they can develop more resources and campaigns to inspire regular, meaningful conversations.

Suicide prevention resources

If you know of anyone who may be at risk of suicide, anxiety or depression, you can reach out to the following organisations:

  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 (available 24/7) or
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 (available 24/7) or visit
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 (available 24/7) or visit
  • Suicide Prevention Australia – visit

Category: Wellness


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Article by: Defence Health