Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. And with the effort to further promote that awareness, and a vision of the world where “we’re all connected and protected from suicide,” came Australia’s R U OK? campaign. R U OK? is a not-for-profit organization, founded by Gavin Larkin in 2009, whose mission is to encourage everyone to meaningfully ask each other, “Are you ok?” When I learned of this amazing movement yesterday, thanks to a friend’s post on Instagram about R U OK Day, I was ecstatic. Not only does this movement encourage people to reach out to each other, but it also promotes effective ways to do so with particular communication strategies that can be used to connect with someone who may be struggling. Asking the simple question, “Are you ok?” may not seem like a big deal. But it is. And it means the world to someone who is suffering. The truth is, even when asked, the person may not want to open up, let alone fully disclose everything that may be happening to them. Chances are, they won’t tell you what’s been crossing their mind. However, in someone showing genuine compassion and love, and truly being there for them, a sense of hope can be shined onto the life of someone experiencing truly dark and terrible times. And a tragedy can be avoided. One can feel utterly alone when suffering, the world can undoubtedly be a harsh place, leaving one with that tragic idea that there’s just “no point in living.” But when someone takes the time to ask and listen, proving that love and goodness really do exist in the world…suddenly there’s something to live for. And a life is saved.
*This is something that I cannot stress enough, if you know someone who is suffering or even just suspect it, please do not dismiss them and what they’re going through. You may not understand it, you may even think it’s just not that serious, but it is not to be dismissed. To someone suffering, the pain can consume and take over their entire world. And trust me, the acknowledgment of that alone can make all the difference. So let’s all be there for each other. And today, along with every other day, let’s take the time to ask “Are you ok?”
For more information about the R U OK? movement, visit https://ruok.org.au
And please, if you need help, or know someone who does, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255