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Thursday, 9 September is R U OK? Day. It’s a national day of action, reminding all Australians that every day, is the day to ask the people in your life – “Are you OK?”

We have been through a lot over the last year and a half, and harm prevention charity R U OK? is encouraging everyone to stay connected and have conversations that can help others through the difficult times in their lives.

Eight people take their lives every day in Australia. For every death by suicide, it’s estimated 30 people will attempt to take their own life. Being alert to those around you, having meaningful conversations, identifying signs of distress or difficulty and connecting someone to appropriate support, long before they’re in crisis, contributes to suicide prevention.

After losing his father to suicide, United States academic psychologist, Dr Thomas Joiner, dedicated his research to try and answer that complex question “why?”. His theory describes three forces at play in someone at risk, one of these forces is a ‘decreased sense of belonging’.

R U OK? aims to prevent that lack of connection and belonging. By taking the time to ask “Are you OK?” and listening, ‘we can help people struggling with life feel connected long before they even think about suicide. It all comes down to regular, face-to-face, meaningful conversations about life. And asking “Are you OK?” is a great place to start’.

For help starting these conversations and other resources head to www.ruok.org.au

Tune into Episode 111 of the PakMag Parent’s Podcast with Claire Orange, R U OK? Community Ambassador – voices of lived experience, to find out more about R U OK? Day, the importance of asking that question and how to approach the subject of suicide with children.