Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, is encouraging people to ask a friend or relative if they are ok, on R U OK?Day, Thursday, September 14.
R U OK?Day is a national day of action that is dedicated to reminding people to regularly check in with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
R U OK?Day was founded in 2009 by Gavin Larkin, who was inspired to take action after his father unexpectedly committed suicide.
Gavin hoped to encourage more people to take time to reach out to anyone struggling with life.
“We have a responsibility, as mums, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, and even just as acquaintances to check in with those around us and ask them if they are ok,” Ms Templeman said.
“Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety do not discriminate and are often disguised. So don’t make the mistake of assuming that someone is immune from the grip of mental illness just because of their personality, popularity or smile.”
Each year, approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness and yet the same survey showed only 35 per cent of people with a mental disorder had sought help from a health service.
“What this shows is that people are suffering alone when they don’t have to, and quite frankly, shouldn’t be,” said Ms Templeman.
“You could change someone’s life, or at the very least improve someone’s day, so ask the questions and have the conversations.
“Heightened suicide risk is often short-term and situation-specific. While suicidal thoughts may return, they are not permanent and an individual with previous suicidal thoughts and attempts can go on to live a long life. You might ask the question at just the right time and make a difference.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health problems, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If your need is life threatening call 000.
Or for online crisis support, you can chat with Lifeline using their online crisis chat service (available7pm - 4am AEST) http://www.lifeline.org.au/Find-Help/Online-Services/crisis-chat.