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HELPING US TAKE THE MESSAGE FURTHER

NEWS WITH HUNGRY JACK'S

R U OK?

By Robyn Ward 05 Nov, 2015
Launching in Bennett Park on Thursday, 7 August from 11am, R U OK? will be joined by Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, Lord Mayor of Darwin Katrina Fong Lim, ABC’s Craig Hamilton, CEO and players from NT Thunder, plus members of the local community to start the five-week 12,000 km journey.

While on tour, R U OK? will host 18 community events in regional and metropolitan areas in NT, NSW, VIC, SA and ACT, as well as visit schools, sports clubs and other community groups before finishing in Sydney on R U OK? Day (Thursday, 11 September 2014).

R U OK? General Manager Brendan Maher said the tour is all about getting out to communities and inspiring people to ask someone “are you ok?” and listen either way.

“The goal this year is to sign up 23,000 Conversation Mates who‘ll commit to asking the question more regularly to family and friends. Senator Scullion will be our first Conversation Mate and we hope thousands more will join him,” Brendan said.

Anyone can sign up at the event or online, where the number of Conversation

Mates will be tracked on an interactive map. By signing up, you’ll receive useful conversation tips and reminders throughout the year.

Senator Scullion said he’s looking forward to signing up.

“While we cannot bring back the people we’ve lost to suicide, we can help each other through life’s difficult times and do this long before someone even thinks about taking their own life. I urge everyone to take the time to start a conversation and really listen to what a mate has to say,” Senator Scullion said.

Hungry Jack’s National Marketing Director, Paul Tredinnick said that Hungry Jack’s is proud to support R U OK? as its Principal Partner.

“Hungry Jack’s is proud to partner with R U OK? to help reach more Australians including Hungry Jack’s staff about the importance of having regular and meaningful conversations.

“We look forward to welcoming the R U OK? Bus at 14 Hungry Jack's restaurants to engage with customers and crew,” Tredinnick said.

ABC Local Radio is supporting the tour and Darwin 105.7 presenter Charlie King will be on hand to MC the event. Everyone is welcome to attend and have some fun, a free BBQ and entertainment from 11am to 1pm.
By Robyn Ward 19 Sep, 2015
In 2015, R U OK?Day and World Suicide Prevention Day fall on the same date, drawing attention to Australia’s role in addressing this global public health issue. Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis said every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide[1], and we should all be doing as much as possible to prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness occurring in our community.
 
“To ensure that people are protected from suicidal thoughts, we need to make a concerted and genuine effort to be there for one another and really walk in one another’s shoes,” Rebecca said. “R U OK?Day is a national reminder for us all to start a conversation that could change a life.”
 
Australian Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, said that meaningful conversations with family and friends aren’t about solving someone’s problem; but helping that person feel connected and supported.
 
“We’ll all grapple with tragedy, loss, and grief through life – and many of us will also live with a mental illness,” Minister Ley said. “Regular, meaningful conversations are one way we can all support each other to cope with change, adversity and illness. If you ask; listen without judgement; encourage action; and follow up, you can make a positive difference to someone’s resilience and wellbeing.”
 
R U OK? is using its seventh national day of action to urge people to say thanks to anyone who’s been there for them during a rough patch or a tough day. R U OK?Day can be the day to start a conversation, as well as celebrate the people who already do that on a regular basis.
 
“‘Thanks For Asking’ is all about appealing to people’s hearts,” Rebecca said. “Whatever the size of the problem, if someone has been there for you, use today to give them a big old-fashioned thanks. We want as many people as possible to head to ruok.org.au and write a special note of thanks to show the world the power of a conversation.”
 
As Australians everywhere support R U OK?Day through events in schools, workplaces and local communities, Suicide Prevention Australia will host leaders in mental health and suicide prevention to launch Australia’s first National Research Action Plan. This Plan will help ensure that scarce research dollars are strategically targeted. R U OK? is a member of the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention and supports the Plan.
 
VNR and ANRs available to download: http://bit.ly/1VMkaJV
Images available to download: https://www.flickr.com/gp/ruokday/RMGs2P
For media enquiries or interviews please contact:    
Fiona Nearn at R U OK? | 0405 588186 | fiona@ruok.org.au
Claudia Hackworth at Liquid Ideas| 0417 012 512 | ruok@liquidideas.com.au
Frankie Gallucci at Liquid Ideas| 0400 155 958 | ruok@liquidideas.com.au


Notes to Editors:
 
R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to inspire Australians to have regular, meaningful conversations throughout the year to help anyone who might be struggling with life. R U OK?Day is a national day of action, held on the second Thursday of September each year.
 
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is held each year on September 10th. WSPD is an initiative of the World Health Organisation and supported by the Australian mental health and suicide prevention sector. The international theme of World Suicide Prevention Day this year is Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.
 
Partnerships
Principal Partner Hungry Jack’s are leveraging their vast retail network to promote the R U OK? message across more than 400 stores and with 17,000 crew members. Marketing Manager Rachel Korbel said, “Hungry Jack’s is proud to partner with R U OK? to help the organisation raise awareness among more Australians - including Hungry Jack's staff - about the importance of regular, meaningful conversations.”
 
Conversation Partner Virgin Mobile Australia will be offering its customers free calls within Oz on R U OK?Day. Sir Richard Branson says, “I think everyone could recall a bad patch in their life, or simply a bad day. I know I can! I wouldn’t have been able to get through the hard times without being able to have real and honest conversations with the people around me. I know the power a conversation can have.”
 
R U OK? is grateful for the funding and support of the Australian Government through the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
 
Facts
More than 2,500 Australians suicide each year. That’s about 7 people every day.
65,000 people attempt suicide each year in Australia
Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians under 44 years
Men account for around 75 per cent of all suicide deaths in Australia
 
For tips on how to report sensitively and accurately on suicide, please visit: http://www.mindframe-media.info/for-media

[1] Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative World Health Organisation 2014
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NEWS WITH VIRGIN MOBILE

R U OK?

By Robyn Ward 09 Sep, 2015
This year, R U OK?Day and World Suicide Prevention Day fall on the same date, drawing attention to Australia’s role in addressing this global public health issue. Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis said every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide[1], and we should all be doing as much as possible to prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness occurring in our community.
 
“To ensure that people are protected from suicidal thoughts, we need to make a concerted and genuine effort to be there for one another and really walk in one another’s shoes,” Rebecca said. “R U OK?Day is a national reminder for us all to start a conversation that could change a life.”
 
Australian Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, said that meaningful conversations with family and friends aren’t about solving someone’s problem; but helping that person feel connected and supported.
 
“We’ll all grapple with tragedy, loss, and grief through life – and many of us will also live with a mental illness,” Minister Ley said. “Regular, meaningful conversations are one way we can all support each other to cope with change, adversity and illness. If you ask; listen without judgement; encourage action; and follow up, you can make a positive difference to someone’s resilience and wellbeing.”
 
R U OK? is using its seventh national day of action to urge people to say thanks to anyone who’s been there for them during a rough patch or a tough day. R U OK?Day can be the day to start a conversation, as well as celebrate the people who already do that on a regular basis.
 
“‘Thanks For Asking’ is all about appealing to people’s hearts,” Rebecca said. “Whatever the size of the problem, if someone has been there for you, use today to give them a big old-fashioned thanks. We want as many people as possible to head to ruok.org.au and write a special note of thanks to show the world the power of a conversation.”
 
As Australians everywhere support R U OK?Day through events in schools, workplaces and local communities, Suicide Prevention Australia will host leaders in mental health and suicide prevention to launch Australia’s first National Research Action Plan. This Plan will help ensure that scarce research dollars are strategically targeted. R U OK? is a member of the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention and supports the Plan.
 
VNR and ANRs available to download: http://bit.ly/1VMkaJV
Images available to download: https://www.flickr.com/gp/ruokday/RMGs2P
For media enquiries or interviews please contact:    
Fiona Nearn at R U OK? | 0405 588186 | fiona@ruok.org.au
Claudia Hackworth at Liquid Ideas| 0417 012 512 | ruok@liquidideas.com.au
Frankie Gallucci at Liquid Ideas| 0400 155 958 | ruok@liquidideas.com.au


Notes to Editors:
 
R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to inspire Australians to have regular, meaningful conversations throughout the year to help anyone who might be struggling with life. R U OK?Day is a national day of action, held on the second Thursday of September each year.
 
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is held each year on September 10th. WSPD is an initiative of the World Health Organization and supported by the Australian mental health and suicide prevention sector. The international theme of World Suicide Prevention Day this year is Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.
 
Partnerships
Principal Partner Hungry Jack’s are leveraging their vast retail network to promote the R U OK? message across more than 400 stores and with 17,000 crew members. Marketing Manager Rachel Korbel said, “Hungry Jack’s is proud to partner with R U OK? to help the organisation raise awareness among more Australians - including Hungry Jack's staff - about the importance of regular, meaningful conversations.”
 
Conversation Partner Virgin Mobile Australia will be offering its customers free calls within Oz on R U OK?Day. Sir Richard Branson says, “I think everyone could recall a bad patch in their life, or simply a bad day. I know I can! I wouldn’t have been able to get through the hard times without being able to have real and honest conversations with the people around me. I know the power a conversation can have.”
 
R U OK? is grateful for the funding and support of the Australian Government through the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
 
Facts
More than 2,500 Australians suicide each year. That’s about 7 people every day.
65,000 people attempt suicide each year in Australia
Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians under 44 years
Men account for around 75 per cent of all suicide deaths in Australia
 
For tips on how to report sensitively and accurately on suicide, please visit: http://www.mindframe-media.info/for-media

[1] Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative World Health Organisation 2014
By Robyn Ward 26 Aug, 2014
Virgin Mobile Australia is the R U OK? ‘Conversation Partner’ and wants to inspire as many people as possible to get in touch with someone they care about and rediscover the power of conversations.

The campaign is the latest example of Virgin Mobile’s commitment to ‘Making mobile better’ which launched in July.

The telco is offering their customers free national voice calls within Australia on R U OK?Day (11 September 2014), as well as running an integrated media campaign involving out of home, digital, rich mobile executions and commuter press. Live reads will also run on major national radio networks ARN, DMG and Southern Cross Austereo on 11 September.

Director of Brand and Communications, Nicole Bardsley, said this partnership will help the telco transform trivial mobile behaviours into something more meaningful.

“These days, we have a tendency to send a quick text or post to someone’s Facebook wall instead of picking up the phone. And while social media is amazing at facilitating regular contact with the people in our lives, the nature of the medium can sometimes get in the way of having powerful and in depth conversations, which can be so important to our relationships.”

Watch Sir Richard Branson's message for all Aussies here.

For more information on Virgin Mobile’s partnership with R U OK?, visit: makingmobilebetter.com.au.
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NEWS WITH BRISTOW HELICOPTERS

R U OK?

By Robyn Ward 17 Dec, 2015
Before the R U OK? team breaks for the festive season, I wanted to pause and reflect on the year that was.

R U OK? has had an incredible year – with support and participation in the campaign continuing to grow. The simplicity and effectiveness of asking, “Are you okay?” is resonating with millions of Australians, keen to do more to look out for one another and support each other through life’s ups and downs.

Here are just a few of our good news stories and achievements in 2015:

A new relationship with the AFL Players Association to run workshops with emerging leaders to strengthen peer-to-peer support in professional clubs.
   
A new partnership with Sensis Australia, with R U OK?’s ambassadors featured on the front page of 5 million Yellow Pages booklets distributed across Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
     
The launch of 60 'Conversation Corners' in schools across Australia (a park-bench and supporting activation materials); with thanks to funding from Sensis.
   
The extension of R U OK?’s partnership with Bristow Helicopters, including a number of site visits around R U OK?Day and the development of a booklet to help managers check in with staff working away from home.
     
A collaboration with the TrackSAFE Foundation and the Australian Rail Industry for Rail R U OK?Day on 16 April, now to be an annual event.

The engagement of hundreds of supporters running to raise funds and awareness for R U OK? in events such as City2Surf, Run Melbourne,
   
Bridge to Brisbane, and Canberra Marathon.
   
A new community partnership with Bondi Icebergs club.

Collaboration with the Australian Legal Profession to develop R U OK? at Law, encouraging members of the legal profession to look deeper to support a colleague.

Involvement as a Youth Forum Partner at the 2015 Garma Festival, thanks to support from the MLC Community Foundation.

A media conference with Sir Richard Branson, promoting the Virgin Mobile partnership and free calls on R U OK?Day, and the global relevance of the R U OK? message.
   
We travelled across Australia on the R U OK? Thanks for Asking bus tour. We visited and ran community events in Perth, Baldivis, Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Ceduna, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Ulverstone, Melbourne Yarrawong, Wagga Wagga, Gundagai, Canberra and Sydney. Thanks to our Principal Partner Hungry Jack’s, we heard and captured many inspiring stories, like Mark’s:

People often express surprise that R U OK? is comprised of only three full-time and three part-time staff. While this keeps us all incredibly busy, much of the team’s ability to succeed can be attributed to the amazing pro-bono support we get, and the crucial financial support of the Australian Government, Hungry Jack’s, Virgin Mobile, Bristow Helicopters and the community.

Everything we are able to achieve is underpinned by significant generosity and goodwill.

Importantly, R U OK?’s capacity to develop campaigns and resources that are effective, safe and empowering owes much to the incredible expertise we receive from our Scientific Advisory Group, Conversation Think Tank and our Creative Hub. Thank you to these individuals who provide their time freely and add real substance, depth and credibility to R U OK?’s initiatives.

I would also like to thank R U OK?’s Board for their support and guidance.

Finally, thank you to the incredible R U OK? team, who punch well above their weight – Rebecca Lewis (Campaign Director), Anastasia Symons (Campaign Manager), Fiona Nearn (Media and PR Manager), Lindy Hodgson (Community Engagement Manager), Louise Mullane (Office and Project Manager) and Dimitri Tricolas (Campaign Support). I also want to acknowledge the support of Maryanne Larkin and Anne-Marie Lewis who volunteered many hours during the busy months in the lead-up to R U OK?Day.

We recently bade farewell to Louise, who has twins on the way, and Fiona Nearn, who will be exploring new horizons. Both have made an outstanding contribution to R U OK? and will be sorely missed.

As we move into 2016, we look forward to a year where we will continue to inspire more Australians to have regular meaningful conversations and move closer to our vision of a world where everyone is connected and protected from suicide.

In the meantime, enjoy the festive season and have a wonderful break filled with genuine conversations with friends and family.

See you in the New Year!
By Robyn Ward 20 Oct, 2015
It’s great being able to come home to someone who just knows when I’m off swing and to talk it out.

Those in fly in fly out (FIFO) and drive in drive out (DIDO) employment often don’t have the same luxury.

Anyone who’s been a FIFO or DIDO worker could tell you it’s tough lifestyle. Their job may open up many doors, but it also requires a lot of sacrifices. Being away from your friends and family for months at a time can take its toll. Working long and irregular hours can make the tough times more draining. At these times, your workmates almost become your family. They’re the first ones to pick up those small changes in behaviour when someone’s having a rough time. They’re the ones who know when a mate needs to be asked, “Are you ok?”

How can you encourage workmates to support each other?

  • - Educate workers about the importance of looking out for each other; especially when working in remote locations. A great way to get the message out is including it on the agenda for toolbox meetings.
  • - By openly discussing mental health and sharing stories, you can help challenge unhelpful behaviour and attitudes about mental illness and create a more mentally healthy workplace. Our partners Bristow showed their staff they can seek support from their workplace when they’re struggling by sharing Troy Mussio’s story:

“All of us have a breaking point whether we realise it or not. Whether we come close to it or not, we’ve all got it. It’s important that if you see somebody around in the workplace, a friend or even just a professional work colleague, if you notice something’s not right just ask ‘Are you alright? Can I help out?”
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NEWS WITH SENSIS

R U OK?

By Robyn Ward 17 Dec, 2015
R U OK? has had an incredible year – with support and participation in the campaign continuing to grow. The simplicity and effectiveness of asking, “Are you okay?” is resonating with millions of Australians, keen to do more to look out for one another and support each other through life’s ups and downs.

Here are just a few of our good news stories and achievements in 2015:

A new relationship with the AFL Players Association to run workshops with emerging leaders to strengthen peer-to-peer support in professional clubs.
   
A new partnership with Sensis Australia, with R U OK?’s ambassadors featured on the front page of 5 million Yellow Pages booklets distributed across Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
     
The launch of 60 'Conversation Corners' in schools across Australia (a park-bench and supporting activation materials); with thanks to funding from Sensis.
   
The extension of R U OK?’s partnership with Bristow Helicopters, including a number of site visits around R U OK?Day and the development of a booklet to help managers check in with staff working away from home.
     
A collaboration with the TrackSAFE Foundation and the Australian Rail Industry for Rail R U OK?Day on 16 April, now to be an annual event.

The engagement of hundreds of supporters running to raise funds and awareness for R U OK? in events such as City2Surf, Run Melbourne,
   
Bridge to Brisbane, and Canberra Marathon.
   
A new community partnership with Bondi Icebergs club.

Collaboration with the Australian Legal Profession to develop R U OK? at Law, encouraging members of the legal profession to look deeper to support a colleague.

Involvement as a Youth Forum Partner at the 2015 Garma Festival, thanks to support from the MLC Community Foundation.

A media conference with Sir Richard Branson, promoting the Virgin Mobile partnership and free calls on R U OK?Day, and the global relevance of the R U OK? message.
   
We travelled across Australia on the R U OK? Thanks for Asking bus tour. We visited and ran community events in Perth, Baldivis, Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Ceduna, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Ulverstone, Melbourne Yarrawong, Wagga Wagga, Gundagai, Canberra and Sydney. Thanks to our Principal Partner Hungry Jack’s, we heard and captured many inspiring stories, like Mark’s:

People often express surprise that R U OK? is comprised of only three full-time and three part-time staff. While this keeps us all incredibly busy, much of the team’s ability to succeed can be attributed to the amazing pro-bono support we get, and the crucial financial support of the Australian Government, Hungry Jack’s, Virgin Mobile, Bristow Helicopters and the community.

Everything we are able to achieve is underpinned by significant generosity and goodwill.

Importantly, R U OK?’s capacity to develop campaigns and resources that are effective, safe and empowering owes much to the incredible expertise we receive from our Scientific Advisory Group, Conversation Think Tank and our Creative Hub. Thank you to these individuals who provide their time freely and add real substance, depth and credibility to R U OK?’s initiatives.

I would also like to thank R U OK?’s Board for their support and guidance.

Finally, thank you to the incredible R U OK? team, who punch well above their weight – Rebecca Lewis (Campaign Director), Anastasia Symons (Campaign Manager), Fiona Nearn (Media and PR Manager), Lindy Hodgson (Community Engagement Manager), Louise Mullane (Office and Project Manager) and Dimitri Tricolas (Campaign Support). I also want to acknowledge the support of Maryanne Larkin and Anne-Marie Lewis who volunteered many hours during the busy months in the lead-up to R U OK?Day.

We recently bade farewell to Louise, who has twins on the way, and Fiona Nearn, who will be exploring new horizons. Both have made an outstanding contribution to R U OK? and will be sorely missed.

As we move into 2016, we look forward to a year where we will continue to inspire more Australians to have regular meaningful conversations and move closer to our vision of a world where everyone is connected and protected from suicide.

In the meantime, enjoy the festive season and have a wonderful break filled with genuine conversations with friends and family.

See you in the New Year!
By Robyn Ward 23 Aug, 2015
Whether this area is used as a visible reminder of the importance to talk to one another, or the place to have that meaningful chat, it's a space that students, teachers and parents can create together.

Initially part of the R U OK? Bench project funded by Sensis, this kit can be used by any school.

We chatted with our School Ambassador Sarah Jackson about the Conversation Corner Kit and why she's such a big fan.

Q: What did you think when you first heard about the Conversation Corner idea?
A: Awesome! All schools should have one, build one, and make one. I also thought... How can we have a convo corner online! That's my next challenge for R U OK? :)
 
Q. Why do you think this is so important for schools?
A: Schools deal with so many conflicting issues on a daily basis. Having a space to talk that's comfortable, inviting and friendly is an excellent way to open up and have conversations with friends and colleagues. Having a constant reminder that we need to ask how people are going at school is also important, as they are such fast-paced places where students and teachers sometimes need a reminder to stop and ask.
 
Q. How has your school embraced the Conversation Corner and R U OK? message?
A: Our school designed an R U OK? garden bed surrounding the convo bench. We used some of the lesson activities from the R U OK? website in PDHPE and Pastoral Care groups to bring the message to the fore. We also had a staff meeting in regards to why asking "are you ok?" is so important of ourselves.

Q. How can schools develop their own Conversation Corner?  
A. Find a calm and well-used space where students already like to hang out.  That way, it will be "part of the furniture" and more likely to be used each day. Use the benches in that area as possible places to sit and chat and invite students to decorate them. And importantly, reinforce the value of conversations so it becomes part of the fabric of the school culture and ethos. Also, have the design of the space led by students, so it's most effective and appealing.

Download the kit today! https://ruok.org.au/school
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NEWS WITH OTHER SUPPORTERS

R U OK?

By Robyn Ward 25 May, 2016
Don’t ignore these signs.

Instead, be a workmate’s mate – like Barry Roughley – and help them talk about what’s going on.

“We all know there can be multiple stresses in everyone’s lives, and for the most part we can operate very well and take things in our stride. But there are times unexpected things happen; whether it’s financial, personal or work related. I was under some pressure myself a while ago and speaking to another Peer Support volunteer helped me understand that even a small change could have a huge effect on how I was coping. As a Peer Support volunteer, I’ve had similar chats with colleagues countless times and have experienced the difference a bit of support at work can make first-hand and seen the positive effect on my friends and colleagues who have needed a little support.”

Barry works in the rail industry as a Passenger Service Manager. He’s also a Peer Support volunteer and knows that chatting through stuff with colleagues can help someone through life’s ups and downs.

“I care for all the people I work with. I care that they’re feeling ok and going ok. That’s why I make the time to check in with people at work."

“In the past, I’ve had colleagues who were supporting members of their family through a long illness. I’d check in with them regularly and ask how they’re going. Sometimes, they had a lot to say and at other times not so much. However, I believe knowing there was somebody at work who wasn’t judgemental - who genuinely wanted to know how they were and cared they we’re doing ok - made a difference. I think caring and supportive conversations are important because it shows that you have a real interest in that person and their wellbeing.”

Barry believes it’s important to check in with someone as soon as your gut tells you they might be struggling.

“We work almost daily with our work colleagues, so you get to know the personality of your colleagues, even if they aren’t a close workmate. If you notice a change in a person’s usual personality, it can’t hurt to ask how they’re doing or let them know you’ve noticed they’re not their usual self. As a Peer Supporter and as a manager with 28 staff, I am better able to be there for my team if I see those changes early. Then I can offer some help and support, even if it’s simply a friendly non-judgemental ear.”

Barry says there are lots of questions that can help colleagues open up about things that might be troubling them.

“Conversation starters can be simple. For example you could just say, ‘How are things going? You look a little bit down today.’ Most times - particularly if they know and trust you - they will give you an answer such as, ‘Well yeah, I’ve got a few things going on right now.’ Then you could reply with ‘Do you want to chat about it over a coffee?’ or ‘If you ever want to talk about it I’m here.’ Most of us probably don’t even notice this type of conversation is already part of our daily routine. We need to keep that up because it helps us be attuned to those around us.”

But he doesn’t recommend forcing the conversation.

“If someone’s not ready to talk, that’s ok. I’ll say something along the lines of ‘That’s ok, but I’m here when you want to and when you’re ready.’ If they’ve got walls up there’s no point banging on the wall. It’s a case of assuring them you’re there if they ever need you. It’s also about checking in with them again in a day or so just so they know there’s support if they ever need it.”

Check out how you can help a workmate by starting a conversation at ruok.org.au.
 
If you're part of the Rail Industry and want to encourage meaningful conversation, check out our Rail R U OK?Day campaign: http://tracksafefoundation.com.au/rail-ruok-day/
By Robyn Ward 21 Apr, 2016
This collaboration with TrackSAFE and its partners organisations enables us to do something truly remarkable.
 
It allows us to communicate directly to 110 thousand people across Australia and charge them with the responsibility of doing something that seems unremarkable but is possibly transformational.
 
It allows us to encourage rail workmates to start a conversation.
 
I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to work in the rail industry and be faced with the prospect of fatalities, trauma or accidents.
 
And when you add to that the rollercoaster that is life, I can only imagine that it can be pretty daunting.
 
But hearing the stories from your colleagues in the rail sector, I remain even more convinced that conversations do matter.
 
I remain even more convinced that regular, meaningful conversations can change our world.
 
Take this anecdote from former Queensland Rail worker Justin Geange, talking about his workmate Tom, as one example of proof:
 
“It was hard getting out of bed… I was putting on the mask… but it’s exhausting living a lie. But then there was this one particular day where Tom was really engaged and he really genuinely asked 'Are you ok mate? I can see you are doing it tough.' And it was that day, it was that straw that broke the camel’s back and I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I am going to be fair dinkum. I’m struggling.’ That was the first step for me.”
 
One of the questions that we’re frequently asked is: What do I do if they say “no”?
 
How do I act?
 
What do I say?
 
Our advice: Be you. Be the concerned workmate.
 
Don’t judge them; and re-assure yourself that you don’t need to fix it, or play the expert.
 
As Transit Officer Sue Jervis told us, workmates need to rely on each other.
 
And she had this to say about the importance of openness and respect in conversations:
 
“Because we work closely together, you know how the other person normally is, and can pick up when they’re acting differently. You can tell when your partner’s had a bad day. Sometimes it’s alright to leave them for a few minutes. But if it’s going to affect them for the rest of the day, you need to know. We rely on each other so much, especially when there’s an incident or stressful situation. You need to be able to ask each other ‘Are you ok?’ and let each other know if you’re not in the right headspace to deal with those incidents. Checking in can keep you both safe.”
 
This year, we made a real effort to find inspiring stories and testimonials of work-mateship.
 
It’s our hope that when you, your colleagues and your bosses appreciate that people just like you are already starting these conversations, it will make it easier for the reticent, the reluctant and the reclusive to reach out and start a conversation.
 
The stakes are high.
 
We know that the suicide rate is climbing in Australia.
 
It’s heart-breaking and something needs to change.
 
But today, on this second Rail R U OK?Day, I urge you not to look to governments, doctors and experts for answers.
 
I ask you to look to yourself and ask what can you do differently to give hope, and a sense of support and comfort, to a workmate having a rough day or a tough time.
 
The gift of time is a pretty wonderful gift; particularly when it’s accompanied by a listening ear; a determination not to judge; and a willingness to help someone explore what they can do differently to manage the load.
 
Today - and any day someone’s struggling - start a conversation that could change a life.
 
Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis, speaking at Sydney’s Central Rail Station.
 
To support Rail R U OK?Day, visit: http://tracksafefoundation.com.au/rail-ruok-day/
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