Helping a mate can be hard, especially if they don’t want to talk about it.
‘‘Some people might tell you to jump in the lake when you ask ‘are you ok?’, but the person who’s ready to talk may just open up,’’ The Hills councillor Jeff Lowe said.
That was the take-home message at this morning’s The Hills Council’s R U OK? Day breakfast barbecue: Just ask the question.
‘‘It’s about just starting a general conversation — it doesn’t have to be deep — and making the time to really listen,’’ mayor Michelle Byrne said.
The council’s building coordinator Evan Whale said another way he’s found to engage others is to ask them to join the council’s touch football team.
‘‘We play twice a week at lunch, just whoever turns up,’’ Mr Whale said.
All departments were represented at this morning’s barbecue breakfast where councillors, departmental heads, outdoor staff, everyone, shared a laugh over cups of coffee and bacon and egg and sausage rolls.
‘‘This is our third R U OK? Day at council and our first barbecue breakfast,’’ Cr Byrne said.
‘‘[Former councillor] Justin Taunton and I used to host a morning tea for staff.
‘‘This year [general manager] Dave Walker, all credit to him, organised this.’’
Cr Lowe said: ‘‘This is better. The outdoor staff can get involved this time.’’
New research by the R U OK? Foundation shows more than 90per cent of Australians feel they should ask friends who are struggling ‘‘are you ok?’’, no matter how tough the conversation.
R U OK? chief executive Janina Nearn said asking the question regularly is something we can all do to make a difference to the issue of suicide in Australia — the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 44 years.
■R U OK? Day is organised nationally by not-for-profit organisation The R U OK? Foundation. Held on the second Thursday of September — in this case, today — it is dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘‘are you ok?’’ to support those struggling with life.
■The R U OK? Foundation’s Conversation Think Tank was established in February 2013 to define meaningful conversations to prevent suicide and build the capacity of all people to ask ‘‘are you ok?’’ of anyone struggling with life.