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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

R U OK asking ‘R U OK?’

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Supporting people with mental health issues or those who are just having a really down day, is an important part of living in a healthy community.

Today is R U OK? Day an event to highlight the importance of asking people in your community. ‘Are you ok?’ is the question being asked across the nation today to remind Australians that every day is the day to meaningfully connect with those we care about and start a conversation that could change a life.

To help people navigate the conversation, R U OK? today launched an innovative voice technology resource available to all Australians whenever and wherever they choose.

RUOK Mate?

‘RUOK Mate’ is an Action on Google, created and developed for R U OK? by creative agency The Works. The tool provides strategies on what to do if someone says, ‘No, I’m not ok’.

Anyone who might be worried about family, friends or colleagues can access the interactive conversation scenarios on their Google Home or Google Assistant-enabled smartphone or device by simply saying’Hey Google, talk to RUOK Mate’.

Keeping pace with changing technology

It’s R U OK? Day

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton says it’s important to deliver the R U OK? message to people in ways that keep pace with changing technology.

‘We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference. We are focused on building confidence in people, so they know when and how to have an R U OK? conversation,’ said Newton.

‘It’s vital we utilise new ways to build that confidence and ‘RUOK Mate’ has the potential to do that in a way that we have not seen before.

‘We hope to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life.’

Layne Beachley

World Champion surfer and R U OK? Ambassador Layne Beachley is supporting the project and is excited about the practical nature of ‘RUOK Mate’.

‘This is a great use of technology to reach those people for whom voice assisted technology is becoming commonplace,’ said Beachley.’Having struggled myself it wasn’t until I was asked ‘are you ok?’ that I recognised I needed support.

‘I’m proud to champion this resource that will increase the confidence and readiness of Australians to have meaningful conversations that can change lives.’

In a nationwide show of support, thousands of R U OK?Day events will share the message to ‘Trust the Signs’ and start a conversation across local communities, schools and workplaces including morning teas, community walks and sausage sizzles.

Around the country, iconic landmarks will light up yellow to signify this national day of action including The Adelaide Oval, Brisbane’s Story Bridge, Canberra’s Telstra Tower, Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Buildings and Perth’s Town Hall.

Organisations have also thrown their support behind the ‘Trust the Signs’ message by making subtle changes to their brand identity to encourage meaningful conversations within their communities. Those sharing the message include Federation Square, HOYTS, JCDecaux, Madame Tussauds, The Merivale Group, SEA LIFE, Twitch, Twitter and Virgin Australia Group.

It’s OK to ask

Research commissioned by R U OK? earlier this year found:

• Nearly two-thirds of Australians (63%) were not confident they knew the signs that someone might be struggling with life.

• But encouragingly of those surveyed, almost half (49%) believe they’d be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs.

To build Australia’s confidence, R U OK? have taken the ‘Trust the Signs’ message more than 17,000km to every state and territory on a nine-week educational Tour from coastlines to canola fields, cities to country towns, to help people know when it’s the right time to start an R U OK? conversation.

R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to learn the signs, talk to the ‘RUOK Mate’ Action on Google, download a practical toolkit and start regular meaningful conversations throughout their communities.

More information on how to get involved can be found at: ruok.org.au.

For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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