Today, the 29 November 2009, marked the first national RU OK? Day which encourages people to start a conversation with someone to ask the question ‘RU OK?’ which may change a person’s life. It was founded by a man whose father had commited suicide and many organisations, such as Reach Out, headspace, beyond blue etc. are behind this too.
Last week I was very disappointed in the article that appeared in the Sunday Times that I talked about here. This Sunday in the same newspaper, a very good article appeared in the news review section about RU OK? Day which I think is the same article as this one. There was also a smaller article about two guys, Nic and Matthew, who are cycling around Australia to raise money and awareness about suicide and about Reach Out. There was a picture of the two of them with a Reach Out T-shirt on too, which I was pretty excited about, to see both an article about RU OK? Day, which is an excellent idea, and also to see Reach Out promoted!
As someone who has experienced mental health problems, I know how lonely it can get when it feels like no one knows how you are feeling and no one cares about how you’re doing. But I also know how much it can benefit when there is someone to ask you, ‘RU OK?’
Last year for the first time in four years, I opened up to a friend about what was really going on, how I self harmed, how I was purging, how I was seeing the school counsellor. It only happened after she asked me numerous times if I was okay. After telling her, it felt good to be able to talk to someone, to be able to share what’s been going on in my life and to know that someone’s willing to listen and that someone cares. So it really is important to start a conversation with someone if you think that maybe they’re not okay.
Reading through the RU OK? website I was saddened to see that it is the biggest killer of men and women 15-35 years old, which is more than how many are killed in road accidents. And for every one person who commits suicide, it is estimated that up to ten make an attempt on their lives. For it to be the biggest killer of young people, something needs to change. Maybe asking a simple three words can be the start of the change.
So let me ask the question today, have you asked someone, ‘RU OK?’ And the most important question of all, ‘RU OK?’