So, today is R U OK? Day. A day when the R U OK? team call on all Australians to reconnect with someone they’ve lost touch with. Yes, reach out to someone and just make a connection; let them know you’re there and let them know you care.
New research from the suicide prevention charity reveals that 1/3 of us have unintentionally lost contact with four or more family members or friends.
In line with this and the 8th national R U OK? Day, Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis says that today is the day we should all make a promise to change that.
Agreed. Such an awesome initiative, one all Australians should vow to support and one that got me thinking.
WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING TODAY …
Is reaching out to friends or family members that we’ve allowed to fall off our radar. Reaching out to them and asking them how they are, what they’re up to and letting them know we still care. Posting messages like this on our facebook pages and tagging those we’ve lost touch with …
WHAT WE SHOULD NOT BE DOING TODAY …
It seems there are some businesses out there today who have missed the meaning behind R U OK? Day.
Thinking instead it’s a reason to send all their subscribers this email …
I was gobsmacked and everyone else in the office was too. Now admittedly this came from one of those weight loss companies (no not the big ones but still a sizeable business who has a large subscriber base) so I guess they thought it was somewhat relevant.
But the fact that they have drawn parallels between someone’s weight and suicide is appalling! Who actually trivialises suicide by asking their subscribers if they’d feel better if they lost weight?
SCARY. SCARY. SCARY.
I chose not to share the branding on this email. Perhaps I should.
What I do choose to do though is to encourage everyone today and actually always, to reach out to as many people as you can. Particularly those with whom you’ve lost either recently or a long while ago.
This simple act can make a huge difference.
“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.”