R U Ok Day: Told by the Psych Society

La Trobe University’s very own Psych Society tells us about the concept of R U Ok Day and to remind ourselves to always ask our peers if they are simply okay.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health.

Unnervingly, the rate of suicide has increased over the last decade.  According to Lifeline, the overall suicide rate in 2015 was 12.6 per 100,000 in Australia.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2015, 3, 027 deaths were due to suicide.  This equates to more than eight deaths by suicide in Australia each day!

R U OK? is a national campaign that aims to:

  • Tackle suicide by reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation by promoting connection through regular, meaningful conversations,
  • Reduce the stigma around mental illness and suicide, and
  • Increase the likelihood that people will access professional support when it is needed.

A survey conducted in by the charity in 2018 revealed that, in the past 12 months, 81% of Aussies had asked someone if they were OK more than once.  Further, 51% of Aussies reported that they had been asked if they were OK at a time when they really needed it.  52% of Aussies, however, reported that they had considered asking someone if they were OK, at least once in the past 12 months, but didn’t actually ask the question.  This indicates that there is still work to be done with encouraging people to check in with each other!

If you notice that someone seems out of sorts, agitated, withdrawn, or just not themselves, ask the question: “are you okay?”.  It can be a difficult conversation to start.  Recognising this, the charity has published four simple steps to guide you in having the conversation:

  1. Listen without judgement.

    ASK are you okay?

  2. LISTEN without judgement
  3. ENCOURAGE ACTION, and
  4. CHECK IN with the person soon after.

For more conversation tips, visit https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask.

R U OK? Day is coming up on the 13th of September.  On the day, a series of stalls will be set up in the Agora at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus, with representatives from the La Trobe University Counselling and Wellbeing Services, the La Trobe Student Union, International Student Services, the Psych Society, and more.  The Psych Society will have resources from headspace and lists of services available to students both at La Trobe University and outside of the university.  They will also be holding a bake sale to raise money for the charity, and there will be some free food too!  This is a great opportunity to connect with each other at university, or to find out more information about the resources available to you.

Additionally, the Psych Society are running a half-day safeTALK workshop at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus on Wednesday, September 12th, from 10am-1pm.  This workshop trains people to recognise signs that someone may be struggling with thoughts of suicide, and to help link people with life-saving intervention resources.  Listening and validating someone else’s story and feelings can be incredibly effective and more meaningful than you might expect.  The workshop involves presentations from a registered trainer, audiovisual learning aids, and hands-on skills practice and development.  Tickets are $15.87, but there are only 30 spaces available, so get in quick! You can find out more about the workshop and purchase tickets here.

All it takes is a simple question to show that you care.