One simple question can offer hope to someone at risk of suicide.
The R U OK? initiative provides a simple conversational framework for reaching out to someone who might be struggling.
Noticing when a friend, family member or colleague is not their usual self can be a powerful step in suicide prevention. Some indicators may be that they are withdrawn, teary or agitated. A colleague may increase their sick days or decline opportunities. If uncharacteristic behaviour lasts more than two weeks, it could be a sign they need support.
Psychologist Carmen Betterridge, Director at Suicide Risk Prevention Australia, says suicidal behaviour is prevalent in many vulnerable groups including LGBTI populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the elderly. However, anyone who feels disconnected, hopeless or trapped is at risk of suicidal behaviour.
In Australia more than eight people per day die from suicide. Many more are hospitalised for attempted suicide.
Betterridge shares four steps to starting a meaningful conversation that can restore a sense of belonging to someone having a tough time.
1. Ask R U OK?
Ask when you yourself are relaxed and ready to listen.
2. Listen without judgement
Acknowledge they are having a hard time and don’t judge their experiences.
3. Encourage action
Ask how they have managed similar situations previously. Suggest health professionals as a valuable support.
4. Check in
Stay in touch and make sure they know you genuinely care.
Your simple question can offer hope for someone needing connection.
Visit the R U OK? website
for more conversation tips.
R U OK? Day is September 14 — but you can make a difference every day.