R U OK Day: Please be aware this includes discussion of suicide

R U OK Day: Please be aware this includes discussion of suicide

The fourteenth annual R U OK Day falls on 8th September this year.

As R U OK themselves describe it, it's our national day of action when we remind Australians that every day is the day to ask, 'Are you OK?' and start a meaningful conversation whenever they spot the signs that someone they care about might be struggling with life.

R U OK was set up by Gavin Larkin whose father Barry succumbed to his depression in 1996. Gavin started R U OK after suffering depression himself, as a project connected to a course he took to understand his own struggles better. It has grown rapidly, even the first Day stimulated an estimated 650,000 conversations. Research completed in 2015 by Katherine Mok showed that R U OK has had a positive impact on "people's willingness to talk to others about their problems and seek professional help, and in reducing the stigma associated with help-seeking".

Suicide remains the biggest single killer of men aged under 55 in Australia with almost 2,500 men ending their own lives each year. Unlike most causes of death in young and middle-aged adults, suicide seems uniquely resistant to successful treatment. However it is important to note that the desire of coroners to spare the family by recording suicide under other causes of death has declined which may mask underlying successes in suicide prevention.

Many of the risk factors associated with suicide are connected to loneliness and loss of others, not necessarily just mental illness as I think many of us assume. Although as someone that has suffered from acute depression on occasion, I can attest that the world can seem hopeless and bleak.

As this is a corporate blog I would normally end with what marketing-types describe as a CTA or Call To Action, the idea being that using Thank And Praise will somehow fix everything but the fact is it won't. We hope we are a small part of the larger solution to helping people, men and women, live happy and fruitful lives.

If you are suffering today I urge you not to suffer in silence, not to be the stoic, self-sufficient Aussie man who doesn't need any help. Talk to your GP or to a mate or to Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. There is a ton of help out there, people that really want to help you. Speak to them.