Today is RUOK? Day.
It’s an important day that encourages each of us to take the time to start a meaningful conversation with someone we are worried about.
Starting a conversation with someone – a family member, a friend or a colleague – who is struggling can make a difference and it’s something each one of us can do.
And that conversation can start with four simple steps:
- Ask RUOK?
- Encourage action
- Check in
Australia has a strong track record when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention awareness.
Slowly but surely, we are starting to reduce the stigma around mental health and suicide.
As a community we are talking more about our mental health - and this is a good thing.
But sadly, for all of the hard work and dedication, suicide continues to affect far too many Australians.
There were 3,027 deaths due to suicide in 2015 and this represents the highest rate in 15 years.
On average, there are 8.3 deaths by suicide every day and it is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44 and the second leading cause of death among those aged 45 to 54.
Deaths from suicide occur among Australian men at a rate three times greater than that for Australian women.
Sadly, suicide continues to disproportionately impact indigenous communities, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people twice more likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the 15-17 age-group had a suicide rate more than five times higher than their non-Indigenous peers.
These statistics are heartbreaking and confronting.
There is also the terrible impact on families, friends and colleagues who are left behind to deal with the trauma.
One death by suicide is too many and the seriousness of Australia’s mental health and suicide burden reminds all of us we have to do more to reduce the thousands of lives lost each year.
During the election, Labor announced a target for a 50 per cent reduction in suicides over the next 10 years. Labor also committed $83.7 million to provide national leadership, including funding 12 suicide prevention projects.
Labor continues to be a strong supporter of RUOK? Day.
Raising community awareness around suicide prevention must continue and one way we can all make a difference on RUOK? Day is to start a meaningful conversation with someone you might be worried about.
We also take this opportunity to thank the dedicated individuals and organisations like RUOK? who are committed to working towards reducing Australia’s suicide rate.
**For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978 **