Tuesday 11 August 2020
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Australian PM - 1 month ago

Statement On Indulgence - R U OK? Day

Mr Morrison: (Cook—Prime Minister and Minister for the Public Service) (14:00): I rise to acknowledge that today marks R U OK? Day, a national day of action on suicide prevention. R U OK? Day was actually started by friend of mine many years ago, Gav Larkin, who I went to school with. We lost him to illness some years ago, but I m sure he d be incredibly pleased with the way that this has taken off over all of these years. It s built around a simple expression of empathy and support for our fellow Australians, which comes naturally to us all. It s all about extending a hand. You never know the difference it could make to somebody in their hour of need. Most weeks I, like many in this place, receive letters from Australians who all too often recount the tragedy of losing a family member or a friend to suicide. You hear stories from parents who talk about how their young kids in their teens and their early 20s are attending the funerals of their friends. It breaks your heart and you wish you could go back in time—something you might have someone you might have reached out to; something you might have noticed. More than half of all Australian adults have had a direct experience of that s how many people personally know someone who has died by suicide. R U OK? Day is a time to restate a commitment which I know is shared across this chamber. It s a clear statement of the government to all Australians everywhere that we are progressing a towards-zero goal, with our commitment to mental health and our suicide prevention plan, which we are pleased to have the support of the entire House for. As important as these services are, it s actually the human connection that in so many instances will make that difference. A conversation can make a difference. It can save a life. The four steps of R U OK? Day, I m sure Gav would have me say, are: ask, Are you okay? —don t be afraid to ever ask that question—listen to the answer car encourage and check in afterwards. Friends and family can make all the difference, but you have to be willing to ask, Are you okay?

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