After reading the story behind the harm prevention charity R U Okay? We are left both saddened and inspired. Saddened by the effects of suicide and inspired by the initiative Gavin Larkin took to start a movement "that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives".
After reading the stats, we learnt that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian's between 15-44 years. Stress and trauma, mental and physical illness, drug and alcohol abuse are just some of the reasons people are ending their lives.
This year (2021), Australians have suffered increased stress and illness due to COVID19 restrictions. And so, we feel it is more important than ever to ask the question 'RU Really okay?' and support 'R U OK? Day which happens this Thursday 09 September.
Here are 4 activities you can participate in that will make a difference.
Money donated to a suicide prevention and awareness charity helps these institutions deliver new campaigns, conduct research and amplify a message that reduces the stigma and shame associated with illness. Online giving has made it easy to give a one-off donation or to set up a monthly gift. But we say if you can, why not go big and organise a group/workplace donation. Gather all your friends or colleagues and pool your money to make a more significant impact. We also love the idea of giving aid in memory or celebration of those we love.
The best way to raise awareness using your social platform is to post interactive content. Consider using polls, hosting Q&A's, or posting surveys. Include hashtags by sprinkling non-profit hashtags such as #ruokday #suicideprevention #charity #donate #bethechange through your captions. Also, use visuals. Photos and videos increase engagement by 300%. Use them to produce creative and attention-grabbing content.
The RUOK? website gives 4 clear conversation steps to check up on the people in your world. These steps are straightforward but not always easy. Starting a conversation that could potentially be hard for another can feel awkward and uncomfortable. However, it is important to understand that you can successfully cultivate the skills and confidence to initiate a potentially life-saving conversion. We found this 'how to ask are you okay?' video to help make a seemingly tricky exchange simple.
It is essential to make sure you are prepared for the conversation; to be aware of your own headspace and emotional state. Know that it is not your job to 'fix' them. This is not your opportunity to tell others everything you think they should change about themselves. Do not take it personally if they do not appreciate you asking or want to talk to you. If they are defensive, remain calm. Give kindness, listen and love anyway.
We believe in the power of a gift. Often, people need to know that you care before they share. Sending a thoughtful and appropriate gift firstly lets the receiver know that you see them and secondly that you take a personal interest in their welfare. The kind of gift depends on the state of your relationship. That being said, we suggest a small token of care, meaningful gift sets or simply a heartfelt card. We know that simple gestures of kindness can have the greatest impact.
This week, reach out to someone in your world and ask #RUOK? Because you never know what someone is going through.