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R U OKAY Day 2016

Amanda Smith

“Are you okay?” Three words that could save a life.

R U OK? Day this Thursday 8 September marks a day in our calendars to start a meaningful conversation with a co-worker, friend or family member to ask this very simple question that could help someone struggling with life.

We chatted to Tanya Hennessy from 104.7’s breakfast team about her involvement in R U OK? and why it was so important to her to be involved.

“When I found out the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 was suicide, I wanted to do anything and everything to help lower that devastating statistic,” she explains. “R U OK? Day is unique and doesn’t ask for money. It’s about people supporting each other. It’s one thing to give money, but it’s another to really be there for someone when they’re going through a hard time; to hear someone, to validate their feelings, or to simply listen. No one needs to face their problems alone.”

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Tanya Hennessy

According to the ABS, in 2014, we lost 2864 people to suicide. For every suicide, there are 20 people who are unsuccessful in their attempt to leave this world.

Tanya believes the success of R U OK? Day is directly linked to its simplicity.

“It’s special because it’s simple. If you have a conversation, a human interaction and show compassion – you can seriously help people from making a life or death decision. This isn’t a one-day thing, this is a 365 day a year thing… keeping the message up and letting people know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.”

Tanya’s tips on how to ask the question is to just ease it into conversation. You just have to start by asking.

“If you have a niggling feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would, maybe they aren’t themselves?” she explains. “Trust your gut instinct and act on it. Realise it’s better to say something and be rejected than say nothing and regret it. It could be a text, a call, a hand on the shoulder, a smile – connection.”

On 8 September, ask someone “Are you okay?”. It might just save their life.

Readers seeking assistance can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.

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Amanda Smith

Amanda is a lunch enthusiast and Canberra local with a love of all things curious. With a background in photography and current studies in journalism, she hopes to produce work on the human condition and what makes us so intricate. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her eccentric family and buying bread, dip and olives from the Old Bus Depot Markets for lunch on a Sunday. More about the Author

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