FLASHBACK: R U OK Day activities in the South Burnett in previous years

September 10, 2019

Thursday is R U OK Day, the day when we are reminded of the importance of having meaningful conversations with the people in our lives.

Are you okay? This simple question has the potential of saving a life …

Several R U OK events have been planned in the South Burnett.

In Cherbourg, a community march will be held from the Community Hall at 9:30am.

The march will be followed by giveaways, guest speakers and a barbecue.

In Kingaroy, the South Burnett Suicide Prevention Working Group, in conjunction with Lives Lived Well, will be hosting a sausage sizzle from 7:00am to 9:30am in the Kingaroy Town Hall Forecourt.

The Kingaroy Men’s Shed will be doing the cooking and the cost is a gold coin donation.

An R U OK Dessert Night will be held at St Mary’s Parish Hall at 15 Albert Street, Kingaroy, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

Guests at this free event should bring along a dessert to share, and in exchange they can enjoy live music and lots of people asking R U OK?

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The theme for this year’s R U OK Day is “Trust The Signs”.

Organisers are asking people to “trust their gut” and ask R U OK?

According to R U OK, about eight people die by suicide every day in Australia.

Every one of these lives lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or workmate.

And for every death, it’s estimated at least another 30 people attempt to end their own life.

Suicide doesn’t discriminate. It occurs across demographics.

“The signs may be subtle, but it’s likely that you’ll pick up on a number of indicators that someone is struggling,” psychologist Rachel Clements said.

“As everyone is different and may respond differently to these thoughts and feelings, it’s important you trust your gut instinct when you notice a shift or change in someone and reach out to them.”

The non-verbal signs that indicate it’s time to reach out to someone include social withdrawal, a persistent drop in mood, disinterest in maintaining personal hygiene or appearance, uncharacteristically reckless behaviour, poor diet changes, rapid weight changes, being distracted, anger, insomnia, alcohol or drug abuse and giving away sentimental or expensive possessions.

Indirect verbal expressions include hopelessness, failing to see a future, believing they are a burden to others, saying they feel worthless or alone and talking about their death or wanting to die.

“People who have thought about suicide say the most important thing family, friends and colleagues can do is listen, show they care, and offer support,” Rachel said.

If someone says they’re thinking of suicide it’s important to take the comment seriously and not panic.

“There are three things to keep front of mind. Firstly, people who open up or disclose thoughts of suicide have often chosen that person very carefully. So, if someone opens up to you it’s an indication they trust you or see something in you that resonates with them and has enabled them to come forward,” Rachel said.

“Secondly, if they’ve opened up it’s usually because they want help. They are already in the mindset of reaching out and wanting support, so it’s your role to be the vehicle that steers them in the right direction.

“Thirdly, it’s an invitation to step into a conversation with them, so don’t shut it down even if you’re uncomfortable.”

The R U OK organisation says if someone discloses thoughts of suicide, take them seriously and don’t leave the person alone.

Explain that thoughts of suicide are common and that you would like to support them by connecting them with someone who can help.

Ensure the person is connected with a treating practitioner such as a GP, counsellor or psychologist and where possible make the appointment with them.

As an immediate measure, connect them with the Suicide Call Back Service or Lifeline which provide crisis support.

If you think someone is at immediate risk call 000 and ask for an ambulance. Stay by their side whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

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To reach out for help, phone:

  • Lifeline 24-Hour Telephone Crisis Support 13-11-14 (24 hours)
  • Mensline 1300-789-978 (24 hours)
  • Kids Helpline (aged 5-25 yrs) 1800-551-800 (24 hours)
  • Beyondblue info line 1300-224-636
  • SANE mental health information 1800-187-263

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