Today is R U OK? Day – a day to reach out to people you know, from family, to friends and work colleagues, to ask if they are okay.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, who is a Conversation Hero with the R U OK? organisation, said that having a simple conversation with someone could help to prevent a small problem from becoming a bigger one.
Minister Scullion said suicide rates were twice as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as for non-Indigenous Australians, with the highest rates occurring before the age of 40.
“Every suicide is an absolute tragedy and it breaks my heart that so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities live with this terrible pain,” Minister Scullion said.
“A simple question to ask someone is if they are feeling okay. This is often the first step in helping a person who might be struggling.”
Today is also a reminder of why the Coalition Government made an election commitment to roll out Indigenous Mental Health First Aid training to remote communities.
“The Indigenous Mental Health First Aid training that we are rolling out will help communities identify the early warning signs of mental health issues in their friends and families and equip people with the knowledge and training about how best to help,” Minister Scullion said.
R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring more Australians to ask family and friends who might be struggling if they are okay. Tips on how to start a conversation are available at: ruok.org.au