Today is R U OK? Day and R U OK? is calling on all Australians to reconnect with someone they’ve lost touch with, as new research from the suicide prevention charity reveals one third of us have unintentionally lost contact with four or more family members or friends.
Released on the 8th national day of action (Thursday 8 September), the research shows that 24 per cent of us have stopped talking with four to eight loved ones, and a further 10 per cent of us with nine or more people.
R U OK? Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis said that today’s the day to make a promise to change that.
“As a community and as individuals, we’re stronger together and it’s important that we make more time for the people we care about,” Rebecca said. “Use today as an opportunity to start a conversation with someone you were once close to, as well as reach out to anyone you’re worried about. Then, make a commitment to be there for one another throughout the year.”
Adding his voice to the call for regular, meaningful conversations between family and friends is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“The more we talk, the more people are encouraged to seek help,” Prime Minister Turnbull said. “Checking in with each other is something we can all do to help those around us. So if you think someone you know might need help, ask the question: ‘Are you ok?’”
R U OK? Conversation Expert Professor Nick Glozier said we’ve all got what it takes to be there for one another – because it ultimately comes down to listening and not judging what someone wants to share.
“Once you start a conversation and a mate opens up, don’t rush in or leap to conclusions,” Nick said. “It’s important that you listen to what they have to say and guide the conversation with more open questions. Don’t try and fix their problems – or provide the answers – but help them to identify what they can do to better manage the load.”
For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more info, visit ruok.org.au.
Summary of research findings:
Respondents reported that they’d unintentionally lost contact with the below numbers of really close friends, family or colleagues, even though they wish they hadn’t:
· None – 26%
· 1 – 3 people – 40%
· 4 – 8 people – 24%
· 9 – 15 people – 6%
· More than 15 people – 4%
Respondents reported that they’d met the people they’d lost in the following places:
· Primary or high school – 49%
· University, TAFE or similar – 28%
· Worked together – 48%
· Lived in the same neighbourhood – 27%
· Families were friends – 22%
· Were related – 15%
· Other – 6%
Posted by Paul Whyte, Corporate HSE Manager, Nacap