“When it is darkest, we can see the stars” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sadly the media has been really saturated with tales of suicide, depression and silent suffering lately.
The tragedy surrounding the death of world-renowned comedian and actor, Robin Williams last month (August, 2014), followed more recently by the sad death of 25 year old, aspiring musician and lead-singer of girl group, G.R.L, Simone Battle, has highlighted the seriousness of depression and the need people have to be able to talk about it.
Today, September 10, 2014 marks World Suicide Prevention Day, and tomorrow, September 11, 2014 is ‘R U Ok?’ day.
‘R U Ok?’ is a not-for-profit initiative, originally created by Gavin Larkin in 2009, as a tribute to his father, Barry who died from suicide in 1996, ‘R U Ok? Day’ promotes asking our friends, family members, colleagues, or anyone we come across, “are you okay?” and truly listening to their response.
In Australia, the statistics of suicide are shocking; with the latest ABS figures showing more than 2,000 Australians die from suicide each year. Suicide has been identified as the leading cause of death for Australian men under the age of 44 and women under 34.
More frightening is that for every completed suicide, around 30 people attempt.
So, how do we help to stop suicide?
Suicide prevention is a very complex and sensitive challenge globally, and so much thought and research has been put into working with people to stop suicide.
According to ‘R U Ok?’ there are three forces at play in someone who is at risk of suicide.
- The at risk person thinks they are a burden to others;
- The at risk person can withstand a high degree of pain;
- The at risk person no longer feels connected to other people.
By asking the simple question “are you okay?” we can actually help at risk people (who we might not even know are at risk) feel some connection.
This is only a start point, but tomorrow and whenever you have the chance it might be worth just taking five minutes to ask someone you know or love, “are you okay?”
Who knows, you might just help to save a life.
To find out more about ‘R U Ok?’ head to https://www.ruok.org.au
If you or a loved one is dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, head to http://www.beyondblue.org.au or call Beyond Blue’s 24-hour help line on 1300 22 4636.