National suicide prevention charity, R U OK?, is urging all Australians to Trust the Signs, Trust your Gut, and Ask, “Are you OK?” to support anyone who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs.

Thursday 12 September is “R U OK?Day”, a national day of action and a reminder that every day is the right day to meaningfully connect with those around us and ask a question that could change a life, “Are you OK?”

Research commissioned by R U OK? has found:

Nearly two-thirds of Australians (63%) are not confident they know the signs that someone might be struggling with life.

Of those surveyed, 41% hadn’t asked someone if they were OK because they weren’t sure they knew the signs.

However, there is hope, with almost half (49%) believing they’d be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs.

To increase people’s confidence, R U OK? have embarked on a nine-week ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ travelling around 14,000 km to every state and territory. The Tour will culminate in Sydney on
R U OK?Day having engaged 24 communities in an educational experience that explores the signs that indicate someone needs you to ask “R U OK?”.

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton says what people are saying, what they are doing and what’s going on in their life can provide signs as to whether they need support.

“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference. But what we’re hearing, is that people aren’t sure when is the right time to have an
R U OK? conversation,” said Ms Newton.

“Signs can be subtle changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour. You might spot a loved one is having unusual mood swings, changes in sleep or a mate might be withdrawing from social situations like not turning up to sports training.

“We’re encouraging people to look out for those cues,” said Ms Newton. “We should also make a conscious effort to reach out to someone going through a significant life change such as job loss, relationship breakdown, study pressure or perhaps becoming a parent.”

“This R U OK?Day, we want to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life.”

Importantly each event on the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ involved mental health, volunteer and suicide prevention organisations connecting with local communities to highlight the support services available to them when an R U OK? conversation is too big for friends and family alone.

R U OK? Ambassadors, including Barry Du Bois, Travis Collins, Barry Conrad, Tom Derickx, Casey Donovan, Bianca Dye, Chris Green, Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, Rachel Lynch, Miguel Maestre, Ben Ross, Steve Bastoni and Steve ‘Commando’ Willis, have thrown their support behind the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’.

R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to learn the signs, download a practical toolkit and have regular meaningful conversations across their communities. More information on how to get involved can be found at ruok.org.au

For support at any time of the day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.