R U Ok? Day spreads awareness on importance of mental health

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Photo: Jedidja, Pixabay

A suicide prevention group spreads awareness on Thursday as R U OK? Day was observed throughout Australia.

R U OK?Day is a national day of action which aims to remind everyone to ask, “Are you OK” and to remember to always support people who may be struggling with life issues.

This year’s theme is Trust the Signs, Trust your Git & Ask R U OK?

“We want everyone to feel confident they know the signs someone might need support by listening to what they’re saying, seeing what they’re doing or knowing what’s going on in their life. Whenever you notice a change, no matter how small, we want you to trust your gut and start an R U OK? conversation,” the suicide prevention charity states on its website.

According to data from Safe Work Australia, 7,200 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions each year. This equates to around 6 percent of workers compensation claims. In addition, about $543 million is paid in workers’ compensation for work-related mental health conditions.

There are numerous stressors in the workplace. When stress is high and prolonged, this can lead to work-related psychological or physical injury. Work stress has been linked to increased absenteeism, staff turnover, presenteeism, and poor work performance/poor product quality.

“A place where asking the question “Are you ok?” can really work is in the workplace. As employers or staff, we can all create a culture where people feel confident asking and answering this simple yet important question. Besides our legal responsibility of providing a safe and healthy workplace, these conversations can make a real difference to staff going through a tough time,” R U OK? states.

R U OK? developed a practical guide to help staff and workmates have an R U OK? conversation and to ask questions in a supportive way.

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