RU ok? Day – a chance to begin the dialog

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If you have been worrying about a mate, family member or work colleague recently, today is the day to ask that all important and simple question: Are you okay?  

For 11 years, R U OK? Day has been held on the second Thursday of September, raising awareness of the signs of suicide and mental health struggles. 

About chance
Chance may refer to:

RU OK? Day: a chance to start the conversation

About conversation
Conversation is interactive communication between two or more people.
The development of conversational skills and etiquette is an important part of socialization. The development of conversational skills in a new language is a frequent focus of language teaching and learning.
Conversation analysis is a branch of sociology which studies the structure and organization of human interaction, with a more specific focus on conversational interaction.

The national day of action aims to start important conversations and empower people to meaningfully connect with one another. 

Earlier this year, R U OK? conducted a national survey that revealed approximately two thirds of people (63 per cent) were not confident they knew the signs that someone might be struggling with life and 41 percent had not asked someone if they were okay because they were not sure they knew the signs. 

RU OK? Day: a chance to start the conversation

The data also revealed that nearly half (49 per cent) believed they would be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs.

R U OK? chief executive Katherine Newton said it is important to build confidence in people so they can recognise when someone might be struggling. 

“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference,” Ms Newton said.

“But what we’re hearing, is that people aren’t sure when the right time is to have an R U OK? conversation.”

Ms Newton said signs may include subtle changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour, a loved one telling you they are having difficulty switching off or a mate withdrawing from social situations.

“We’re encouraging people to look out for those cues,” she said. 

“We can also make a conscious effort when we know someone is going through a significant life change such as job loss, relationship breakdown, study pressure or perhaps becoming a parent.”

In the past 12 months…

Over half (51 per cent) of Australians wished someone had asked if they were okay.

Males and those aged 60 plus were generally significantly less likely to have asked or wished someone would ask if they were okay, and were less likely to ask others if they were okay.

A significantly higher number of females than males (34 per cent vs 24 per cent) had lost sleep over something troubling them more than five times.

Males and those aged 60-plus were significantly more likely to answer ‘don’t know’ when asked what signs they had noticed in someone close who may have been struggling.

Young Australians aged 18 to 29 were significantly more likely than other age groups to agree strongly (32 per cent) that when they are struggling with life they try to hide it from others.

Females are significantly more likely than males to notice non-verbal indicators (78 per cent vs 68 per cent).

Most commonly, 40 per cent of Australians noticed a change in mood and 37 per cent noticed a person withdrawing from social situations or those close to them.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support call Lifeline on 13 11 14.