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In an Australian first, Camden asks R U OK?

  • By hello
  • 10 Aug, 2017

Camden council is branding its waste collection trucks with messaging to stimulate life-changing conversations in an Australian first.

Four Council trucks will be badged with ‘R U OK?’ messaging to prompt the community to check in with anyone who might be doing it tough.

“Asking a person how they are is a simple and incredibly effective way of establishing a connection with someone who may otherwise be feeling alone and disengaged,” said Mayor Lara Symkowiak.

“One of the leading causes of suicide is when people feel like they don’t belong and we want to make sure everyone is included, accepted and involved in the community,” Cr Symkowiak said.

 In 2015, over 3000 Australians died by suicide, with 75 per cent of those deaths, men. That’s more than eight people per day or one person every three hours.

 “While the question is a simple one, its impact can be lifesaving. It is really important to listen to the answer and use it a starting point for more chats in the future,” she said.

R U OK? is proud to partner with Camden Council to raise awareness around suicide prevention and in a national first time, display messages on Council waste trucks.

CEO Brendan Maher is thrilled that Camden Council has taken the initiative to brand their trucks in the suicide prevention charity’s, messaging.

“We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this initiative. The more people who learn the skills to starting a difficult conversation, the more people’s lives we can impact and potentially save.”

“We applaud Camden for being proactive within their council area and hope this idea catches on around the country.”


R U OK?

By hello 22 Aug, 2017

Community and mental health organisations gathered on the shores of beautiful Lake Wendouree including the local headspace team, Victorian police, Country Fire Authority and Ballarat Mens Shed East.

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher opened the event and introduced Youth Resource Officer, Leading Senior Constable Des Hudson who spoke about the need for services around suicide prevention, stressing that the suicide rate (75 per cent of all suicides in Australia are men) around the male demographic needed to change. He said it would take continued collaboration and more meaningful conversations to destigmatize the fear of speaking out.

Mr Hudson is also chairman of the Suicide Prevention Network of Ballarat.

Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King addressed the crowd about the importance of the R U OK? message and encouraged all Australians to ask are you ok of anyone they were worried about.

Two R U OK? Conversation Corners will be installed in the Botanical Gardens thanks to the team effort of headspace Ballarat headed up Andrew Penny.

The Conversation Corners will act as a visual reminder to the Ballarat community to continue to check in with each other, not just on R U OK? Day, but every day of the year.

R U OK? ambassadors’ actor Steve Bastoni and SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY founder Mitch McPherson both spoke on stage about their reasons for aligning with the R U OK? message.

Steve Bastoni experienced the loss of a few close mates over the years to suicide, while Mitch’s brother took his life. This prompted Mitch to try and help other families avoid the heartbreak of losing a loved one and has travelled on the R U OK? Convoy for a week sharing his personal story.

The Convo Convoy heads to Hobart today and will arrive in Tasmania via the Spirit of the Tasmania tomorrow morning. Their next event will be held on Thursday morning, August 24 at Parliament Gardens.

The Conversation Convoy wraps up on R U OK?Day, 14 September in Cairns, Queensland, with ‘R U OK? Rocks Cairns’- a concert featuring R U OK? ambassadors Ben Lee, Travis Collins, Louise Adams, Big T, Tullara Connors, Steven Oliver and Aya Larkin (Skunkhour).

Head to www.ruok.org.au/conversation-convoy to track the journey or find a local event.

For media enquiries please contact:

Lisa Minner: lisa@ruok.org.au or 0456 475 033

Nicole Warwick: nicolewarwick@liquidideas.com.au or 0412 934 643

Lizzy Thomas: lizzythomas@liquidideas.com.au or 0400 922 919

By hello 21 Aug, 2017

The steps are: Ask, Listen, Encourage and Check in. 

Students from Tenison High School and Mount Gambier North Primary joined in as part of their respective school wellness programs that have a mental health focus.

Students participated in a series of activations highlighting messaging around each of the four steps.

 

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher opened the event and introduced Mount Gambier Mayor Andrew Lee who said he believed the R U OK? message was a vital one for the local community and noted that many residents of Mt Gambier regularly checked in with him and it made all the difference to his own wellbeing.

He encouraged the students to ask are you okay of each other, and they collectively checked in with the person next to them at the event.

 

Maher spoke to the 80 or so guests about the Convo Convoy, the foundations of R U OK? and introduced mental health partners, Tracey Wanganeen from Suicide Prevention Australia, Mirkarla Papini from headspace, Ingrid Coombe from Skylight as well as Joy Rider from Rural and Remote Mental Health.

 

R U OK? ambassadors and performers (local) Louise Adams and James Van Cooper participated in a Q&A about the reasons they feel strongly about the R U OK? message and discussed ways they had supported each other through their own personal tough times.

 

The Convo Convoy said good-bye to Mount Gambier and will arrive in Ballarat tomorrow, Tuesday, August 21, for their next community event.

 

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher said the tour is a great way to get out into the community and meet residents. He said the Convoy had a strong focus on regional and remote towns, like Mount Gambier, where ongoing support is still needed.

The Conversation Convoy finishes on R U OK?Day, 14 September in Cairns, Queensland, with ‘R U OK? Rocks Cairns’, a concert featuring R U OK? ambassadors like Ben Lee, Travis Collins, Louise Adams and James Van Cooper, to celebrate the end of their journey on R U OK?’s biggest day.

Head to www.ruok.org.au/conversation-convoy to track the journey or find a local event.

 

For media enquiries please contact:

Lisa Minner: lisa@ruok.org.au or 0456 475 033

Nicole Warwick: nicolewarwick@liquidideas.com.au or 0412 934 643

Lizzy Thomas: lizzythomas@liquidideas.com.au or 0400 922 919

 

 

 

 

By hello 19 Aug, 2017

Students, staff, police and community members engaged in a series of fun activations designed to connect people, prompt them to notice the signs someone was doing it tough and to look out for one another.

Around 60 students attended the event in the forecourt of the school while R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher explained why checking in regularly with mates and loved ones was one of the best ways to support someone you were worried about. 

“A woman I met from an outback community once told me that we all have a fire and a light within us. But during tough times the light can dim and the fire can burn low. If you see this happening to a friend or family member, it’s time to ask “are you ok?”,” he said.

 “I think that sums up perfectly what R U OK? is all about, keeping alert for signs that someone’s not quite themselves or they seem withdrawn or quiet or angry.

“Sometimes we lose someone close to us, we have a relationship breakdown, we get into financial difficulty, we struggle to stay on top of things and we just can’t cope

“We’ve all been there and when those things happen it’s vital that we check in and keeping asking are you okay until they’re in a better place”

“We don’t have to have all the answers, but we do have our eyes, ears and mouths to support and guide them to help.

“We can all be there for someone in our world that is going through a rough patch.”

 R U OK?s Conversation Convoy is endeavouring to teach and reach as many Australians as possible to reinforce the four steps to a conversation.

The 4 steps are; Ask, Listen, Encourage action and Check in.

 The Convoy is encouraging other mental health organisations to use the Conversation Convoy events as a platform to showcase their resources within the towns and cities they visit.

Today, Port Adelaide headspace, Wesley Lifeforce Suicide Prevention Network and Rural and Remote Mental Health participated in the Tauondi Aboriginal School event alongside R U OK?.

The Conversation Convoy’s next community event will be held at The Rail Lands at Mount Gambier, South Australia, and will feature local R U OK? Ambassador and performer Louise Adams, performer James Van Cooper and Federal Member for Barker, Tony Pasin. 

For more information on the Conversation Convoy’s route and event locations Please contact:

Media manager Lisa Minner

Ph: 0421623387 or 0456475033

Nicole Warwick: nicolewarwick@liquidideas.com.au or 0412 934 643

Lizzy Thomas: lizzythomas@liquidideas.com.au or 0400 922 919

By hello 16 Aug, 2017

THE mining town of Kalgoolie was the latest to host R U OK?’s Conversation Convoy. The Convoy consists of four yellow SUV’s along with Rural and Remote Mental Health who have collaborated to join the convoy.

 The Evolution Mining Group had an early morning event where R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher spoke about the need for colleagues to check in and support each other particularly given the nature of Fly-in Fly-out work.

 He also noted that 75 per cent of Australians who take their lives were men and reinforced the need to stay connected with family and friends given they were the people who generally acted as our support network when we were doing it tough.

 “There are plenty of ways to keep our social circles tight, especially as we get older. Women seem to be a bit better at maintaining their connections than men,” he said.

“If we haven’t spoken to a mate in a while, we can normally go back to where we left off, but the longer we leave it, the harder it can be to make that call.”

“If you’re travelling in a car put your mate on speaker and have a chat, make an effort to keep those friendships active.”

“We often forget we have the resources within us to support a mate who might be struggling, these are our eyes, ears and mouths and being prepared to ask the question if we notice someone doesn’t seem their usual self.”

The second community event was held at Kingsbury Park where mental health support services turned out to showcase ways they can support their community.

Organisations participated like headspace, Mens Shed, Mates for Mates, Anglicare, RedCross, YMCA, Hope Community Services and Oasis Rec. Centre.

 The Conversation Convoy will head off from Norseman Wednesday, Aug 16 and cover the Nullarbor Plain before arriving in South Australia

The Conversation Convoy finishes on R U OK?Day, 14 September in Cairns, Queensland, with ‘R U OK? Rocks Cairns’, a concert featuring some great Aussie talent and ambassadors such as Ben Lee and Travis Collins, to celebrate the end of their journey on R U OK?’s biggest day.

 Head to www.ruok.org.au/conversation-convoy to track the journey or find a local event

By hello 10 Aug, 2017

Camden council is branding its waste collection trucks with messaging to stimulate life-changing conversations in an Australian first.

Four Council trucks will be badged with ‘R U OK?’ messaging to prompt the community to check in with anyone who might be doing it tough.

“Asking a person how they are is a simple and incredibly effective way of establishing a connection with someone who may otherwise be feeling alone and disengaged,” said Mayor Lara Symkowiak.

“One of the leading causes of suicide is when people feel like they don’t belong and we want to make sure everyone is included, accepted and involved in the community,” Cr Symkowiak said.

 In 2015, over 3000 Australians died by suicide, with 75 per cent of those deaths, men. That’s more than eight people per day or one person every three hours.

 “While the question is a simple one, its impact can be lifesaving. It is really important to listen to the answer and use it a starting point for more chats in the future,” she said.

R U OK? is proud to partner with Camden Council to raise awareness around suicide prevention and in a national first time, display messages on Council waste trucks.

CEO Brendan Maher is thrilled that Camden Council has taken the initiative to brand their trucks in the suicide prevention charity’s, messaging.

“We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this initiative. The more people who learn the skills to starting a difficult conversation, the more people’s lives we can impact and potentially save.”

“We applaud Camden for being proactive within their council area and hope this idea catches on around the country.”

By hello 10 Aug, 2017

R U OK?'s Conversation Convoy rolled into Pilbara mining districts Wickham and Dampier on 9 and 10 August 2017 to encourage Rio Tinto's workforce and the local community to check in with workmates and loved ones or anyone who might be struggling with life.

CEO Brendan Maher said it was vital to get the R U OK? messaging out in to mining communities given the pressures and isolation staff often face.

Maher reminded Rio Tinto team members that they had an extra resource at their disposal –their eyes, ears and mouth - in recognising and assisting anyone who didn’t seem their usual self.

He said everyone has the ability and skills to check in with anyone they were worried about and broke down the four steps to starting what could be a life-changing and life-saving conversation. 

“We are thrilled to be out in the heart of the W.A. mining district talking to workers and community members who often face unique struggles around isolation and being separated from family and friends.

“It’s important that we give people the skills to notice the signs that someone might be doing it tough and to know what to say if someone says “no, I’m not ok”. That’s why we developed the four steps to starting a conversation: Ask, Listen, Encourage action and Check in”

Rio Tinto General Manager Dampier Ports, Jessica Farrell encouraged the use of R U OK?’s four steps and highlighted the internal resources available to team members such as Rio Tinto’s Peer Support Program, Wellbeing leader Training and Employee Assistance Program.

“We all have things going on in our lives at times that can be challenging to our wellbeing. Even if we are going ok, chances are we know someone who is going through a tough time. Having the courage to ask that question could really change someone’s life and help put them on a positive pathway towards effectively managing the issue.”

General Manager, Health and Safety Suzy Retallack said, “Rio Tinto is proud to support the R U OK? Conversation convoy in both Wickham and Dampier. The events are a great opportunity for our employees and the local community to reflect on the importance of looking after each other’s wellbeing every day.”

“Even if we are going okay, chances are we know someone going through a tough time. When this happens, having an offer of genuine support can make the difference and that is why encouraging the R U OK conversation is so important”

The R U OK? Conversation Convoy started its journey at Yulara in Uluru and will progressively make its way around Australia to host a series of regional, remote and metro events within schools, parks, workplaces and significant locations within communities.

The Convoy’s next event will be in Perth, Monday August 14 

For more information please contact Lisa Minner on 0421623387

lisa@ruok.org.au

By hello 09 Aug, 2017

STUDENTS at remote Beagle Bay Primary School saw four yellow R U OK? SUV’s roll into their playground this morning for a series of events aimed at encouraging students to recognize the signs, if a friend or loved one appears to be struggling.

The activations were designed to teach the students the four steps to starting a conversation with someone they’re worried about. The steps include Ask, Listen, Encourage action and Check in.

The activations included writing a postcard to someone they care about, a buzzer activity where students had to listen to conversation scenarios to identify if they were the right or wrong way to ask someone if they were ok and how to help them.

For the younger children, an R U OK? sack race took place designed to encourage team spirit and collaboration with their school mates as well as a jumbo game of Jenga and a gigantic R U OK? jigsaw puzzle.

 

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher spoke to the students about ways they might recognize if a school mate was having a bad day.

Responses included; they looked sad, they were sleepy or they were crying. When asked what they should do next, the students collectively cheered, ‘Ask them R U OK?’ and received a special yellow bandana for their efforts.

 

Maher said, “This was a fantastic event and we were absolutely thrilled to see the students so engaged in our activities,

“We know the four steps - while simple - are incredibly effective in teaching people both young and old, the skills to help them start difficult conversations.”

 

The R U OK? Conversation Convoy started its journey at Yulara in Uluru and will progressively make its way around Australia to host a series of regional, remote and metro events within schools, parks, workplaces and significant locations within communities.

Beagle Bay is the Convoy’s third event having recently visited Katherine in the N.T. and Uluru prior to that.

Next stop will be Dampier and Wickham in W.A.

By hello 07 Aug, 2017

THE Lindsay street complex in Katherine was awash with bright yellow Friday morning when suicide prevention charity R U OK? rolled in to town in four branded SUV’s.

The charity hosted a free community event to encourage the people of Katherine to ask the life changing question of anyone they feel might be doing it tough.

R U OK? Community ambassador Jake Gablonski opened the event explaining why he chose to become an ambassador and how the Katherine community had been pivotal to him when he had gone through his own struggles.

Jake said it was thanks to the support of family and friends having meaningful conversations with him, that he was able to open up and get back to a better place.

The event was supported by other health sector providers, including Rural and Remote Mental Health who are on the R U OK? Convoy for the full six weeks. Providers spoke about the services on offer in the town.

Primary and high school students participated in a series of fun activations designed to teach the four steps to staring a heartfelt conversation.

The four stations were Ask, Listen, Encourage action and Check in.

CEO Brendan Maher said he was thrilled with the support from the Katherine community and noted that if even a couple of people who attended the event came away feeling more confident to check in with someone they were worried about, the visit had been worthwhile.

Other community members dropped by and enjoyed a free BBQ hosted by the Rotary Club of Katherine.

By hello 31 Jul, 2017

The tour begins on 1 August and will cover 14,000 km visiting over 20 communities in regional, remote and metropolitan locations, finishing in Cairns on R U OK?Day, 14 September.

The Conversation Convoy will build on the question “are you ok?” by reinforcing the 4 Steps to a conversation, empowering Australians to ask, listen, encourage action and check in.

Thanks to the Audi Foundation, the four yellow SUV’s each represent one of the conversation steps and will roll into each location and be a major part of a series of community-based events. The activities will help people of any age, learn the steps in a fun and interactive way.

High profile ambassadors will be joining different legs of the trip including Ben Lee, Khan Porter, Commando Steve, Daniel Conn, Steven Oliver, Travis Collins and Jodhi Meares.

The Conversation Convoy initiative comes off the back of a recent national omnibus survey conducted by Colmar Brunton which revealed one in three people don’t feel comfortable asking the question, “are you ok?”

For those of us who don’t feel comfortable, the leading reasons include: 

“I don’t know what to say”

“I wouldn’t want to make it worse” 

“I’m worried they might get angry”

“I’m not an expert”

“It’s none of my business”

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher said the results highlight the need to further empower those who aren’t comfortable asking someone who may be struggling and give people a road-map to start what could be a life-changing conversation.

“We sought expert advice to develop a four step strategy to guide people through a sometimes difficult conversation.

“We understand most Australians know what R U OK? is about, but we want to ensure that if someone says “no, I’m not ok,” people know what to do next.

“While offering support won’t always relieve someone’s distress, it is a great place to start. When conversations are too big for you and I, encouraging someone to seek professional help can sometimes be the difference between a hopeful path or a tragic one,” Maher said.

Psychologist and R U OK? advisor Rachel Clements agrees that these barriers to asking are normal fears but can be remedied by familiarising yourself with R U OK?’s four steps.

“We know that some conversations can be really tough. But in reality, you don’t have to be an expert to start a conversation – asking shows someone you care about them and that can make a really positive difference in their life,” Rachel said.

The Conversation Convoy launches in the spiritual heart of Australia, Uluru on 1 August and will head to most major cities across the country, with a strong focus on regional towns with the assistance of Rural & Remote Mental Health.

At most of the events, the suicide prevention organisation will gift a Conversation Corner (bench seat) as a legacy item, to encourage future conversations within the community.

The Conversation Convoy finishes on R U OK?Day, 14 September in Cairns, Queensland, with ‘R U OK? Rocks Cairns’, a concert featuring some great Aussie talent and ambassadors such as Ben Lee and Travis Collins, to celebrate the end of their journey on R U OK?’s biggest day.

Head to www.ruok.org.au/conversation-convoy to track the journey or find a local event.

For interview, image requests or survey results, please contact:

Lisa Minner: lisa@ruok.org.au or 0456 475 033



By hello 11 Jul, 2017
This article was written by Jack Ward, a 14-year-old journalist from Ararat in Victoria who believes in the power of conversation. You can read more of Jack's stories, articles and opinion pieces at www.jacktward.com
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