Australians need to learn to ask: R U OK?

Aaron Bunch
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Australians need to learn how to talk about “one of the biggest challenges of our generation”.

The suicide prevention group R U OK? has a new travelling education program, the Conversation Convoy, to boost people’s confidence and encourage them to talk about mental health.

R U OK? chief executive Brendan Maher says “the ultimate aim is to give people more skills and more confidence to navigate a conversation with someone they’re worried about”.

“Suicide is one of the biggest challenges of our generation,” he told AAP.

“We’re losing eight Australians a day.”

Mr Maher wants people to start conversations before small problems become big problems.

“The more scaffolding people have around them and the more connected they feel, the less likely they are to take their own lives,” he said.

The Conversation Convoy will teach communities across Australia four simple steps to reaching out to someone they see struggling – “ask, listen, encourage action and check in”.

A survey by R U OK? found one-in-three Australians aren’t comfortable discussing mental health issues and asking “are you okay?”

“Quite often it is a difficult conversation,” says Mr Maher.

“Quite often people don’t know where to start.”

The Conversation Convoy starts it’s journey in Uluru on Tuesday and will travel to 20 regional and metropolitan communities before heading to Cairns for R U OK? Day on September 14.

Australian celebrities Ben Lee, Khan Porter, Commando Steve, Daniel Conn, Steven Oliver, Travis Collins and Jodhi Meares will join the convoy to help deliver the message.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

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