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Sep 10 2020

Are you okay?

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and in Australia this co-exists with R U OK? Day, a national movement to start conversations that could save lives. 

Mental ill health, just like physical ill health, can effect anyone at any time. It doesn’t discriminate. Even though conversations about mental health and wellbeing are now more mainstream, there are still those with mental ill health who continue to suffer alone. 

R U OK? Day was founded in 2009 by Gavin Larkin, who lost his father to suicide. It’s now estimated that 80% of Australians know about the R U OK? movement, which proves that one person can make a difference. 

But we are not all like Gavin. Not all of us will start a national movement. One thing all of us can do, is take a few minutes of our time, to check in with someone else. R U OK? Day is a reminder to take action. If you feel like something’s not quite right with someone you know, or if you notice a change in what they’re saying or doing, then trust your instincts and take the time to ask “Are you OK?” That conversation could change, or even save, their life. Sometimes small ripples can make big waves too.

This year has been challenging for everyone and the isolating circumstances of the pandemic has made it more important than ever for us to reach out and start a conversation. But importantly, we need to back up these conversations with appropriate services so that people who need help, can access the support they need, when and where they need it. That’s why I am so proud of the work we do to bring more mental health services to our region.

The R U OK? website has free resources, tips and ideas to help you navigate the “Are you OK?” conversation. If you need mental health support for yourself or someone you care about, then our Mental Health Help website will help you find the right mental health services across the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Penrith areas.

If you need help now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Emergency on triple zero (000)

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Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.

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