Photo from http://www.RUOKday.com
One of my lovely followers who lives in Australia liked the post I made about depression the other day after my friend lost her son (the funeral was today). This blogger mentioned Australia’s national RUOK Day. I was intrigued and had to look it up.
According to the RUOKday.com website, R U OK? Day is a national day of action dedicated to inspiring all Australians to ask family, friends and colleagues, ‘Are you ok?’ The day encourages reaching out to one another and having open and honest conversations in order to become a more connected community. And in the end, to help reduce the country’s suicide rate.
The day is celebrated on the second Thursday of September (last Thursday). The site explains that in the time it takes to have your coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life.
RUOK? is a not for profit organization that works wiith various Information Partners to provide national focus and leadership on suicide prevention by empowering Australians to have open and honest conversations and stay connected with people in their lives.
R U OK? Day was inspired by the son of Barry Larkin (1940 – 1995). The day is dedicated to his father and all people who have died through suicide, as well as the family and friends who love them. The first RUOK? Day was in 2009 and after only three years an estimated 58% of the Australian population knew about the national day of action. By last week, which marked the fourth year, I’m sure the number had increased.
The website provides resources for connecting with people in the workplace, schools, health facilities, universities and community and sports clubs.
The Aussies are onto something. I’m not aware of a single, unified suicide preventive effort like this here in the U.S., and I think we could use one. And frankly, the more we rely on technology to communicate, the more disconnected we become. And the more we need a day like this to promote awareness for the importance of staying connected.
We should all think about asking R U OK? more often. We never know when we could impact a life with a just few more moments of connection, listening and empathy.
Today I am grateful for the many inspirations that come from my fellow bloggers, like this heartwarming and sensible concept.
For more information about the organization, as well as steps for how to reach out and start these conversations, visit http://ruokday.com.