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Warning: This article refers to suicide statistics.
If you or anyone you know needs help:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- QLife on 1800 184 527
- Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277
- ReachOut Australia
Every year, R U OK? Day reminds Australians to ask others, ‘Are you ok?’, particularly if they know someone who is struggling with something. Marked on the second Thursday of September, R U OK? Day 2022 is on 8th September.
R U OK? is an Australian non-profit suicide prevention organisation. Established in 2009, it uses the slogan ‘R U OK?’ to open conversations between people, encouraging us all to check in on others, in our families, friendship circles, neighbourhoods and communities.
Asking ‘Are you ok?’: why it matters
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 8.6 Australians die every day by suicide, twice the road toll. In the day-to-day rush of life, where each of us is struggling with something — personal or professional — it takes a simple ‘Are you ok?’ to change someone’s life.
In an emergency situation, the best number to call is 000. Aside from that, multiple Australian-based organisations are equipped and ready at all times to help.
Lifeline, Australia’s largest suicide prevention service provider states that every 30 seconds, they receive a call from someone in need of help. Their 24-hour crisis support line provides a safe space for people to discuss their worries and concerns without fear of judgement and offers suggestions around practical support.
How you can help if you’re a carer or a support worker
Being a carer or a support worker can be challenging at times. It’s important to recognise when you are feeling out of your depth. If the person you’re supporting is at immediate risk of harm, do not hesitate to call emergency service at 000.
- Keep an eye out for symptoms of depression, or if the person has expressed an intention to self-harm or has attempted self-harm. Encourage them gently to seek professional medical assistance
- Avoid confrontation and set boundaries and understand what you can reasonably do to help them. Be calm and polite but also firm and fair. Take any expression of self-harm or suicide seriously and report it to a medical professional with urgency.
- Start a conversation, like ‘I have noticed you aren’t doing so well lately, how can I help?’
- As a support worker, you can help by raising self-awareness of the subject. You can do this by accessing a curated selection of freely available courses on the Mable Learning Hub, including R U OK, Mindfulness Module, Active Listening – How to Really Do it, and many more
- Remember to look after your own mental wellbeing. Mable’s Wellbeing Platform is available to all support workers on Mable 24/7
- Connect with your peers and other carers on the Mable Community of Support Workers Facebook group
Learn more about what you can do to help someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Remember, it all starts with a simple, ‘Are you ok?’