Would Australia’s R U OK Suicide Prevention Idea Work Here?
A few years ago, the best friend of one our children took her own life. She was 17.
She was a smart, vibrant teenager who never got involved in drugs. She was a leader at her school.
We still ask why. She was only 17.
We still don't know why. We never will.
We also don't know why that madman did what he did what he did in Las Vegas, killing so many people. We probably never will.
There is a mental illness problem in this country, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.
A rope didn't make our daughter's friend hang herself. Guns don't make people kill other people.
It's the mind. Actions are often caused mental illness of some sort, of some degree.
I want to share with you a program that is happening in Australia. My friend, Denis, who listens to Cat Country every day online, brought it to my attention. (Thank you, Denis!)
R U OK? was started to help address the problem of suicide in Australia. It makes sense that it could be done here - and help with not only suicide prevention but in identifying other possible mental problems.
R U OK? DAY was just celebrated a few weeks ago in Australia, and next year's date is set for September 13th.
The idea is a simple one: make sure to ask people on that day, "Are you OK?" Then, take the time to listen, and, if needed, encourage action.
The R U OK Website has this to say about what to do:
Got a niggling feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it.By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up. If they say they are not ok, you can follow our conversation steps to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask.
Could it work here? I don't know. Please feel free to comment below, and don't ever be afraid to ask someone, "R U OK?"