Asking loved ones, neighbours and people on the street if they’re okay should be part of the everyday conversation says Riverbank Frank Doolan.
Mr Doolan is a community ambassador for R U OK?. The suicide prevention charity is dedicated to empowering everyone to strike up a conversation with those who are struggling.
“I hope in time it becomes as much of the language as ‘g’day mate’. The next question should be ‘are you okay?’ and it should come from the heart. It doesn’t mean you have to be a mini-psychologist,” Mr Doolan said.
“I can say from a bit of experience, there are absolutely no winners in suicide. Suicide has a devastating effect and it’s trans-generational. It’s not a pebble in a pool effect, it’s the boulder in the billabong.”
According to R U OK? more than 3000 Australians suicide each year, the equivalent of about eight people every day.
Suicide was a problem in every corner of the world, Mr Doolan said.
It was something the community ambassador said he wanted to change, especially by encouraging men to talk.
“We shut down, we isolate, we internalise that emotion and often when it comes out it comes out in the wrong way,” Mr Doolan said.
“Look to the men around you, look to the men close to you and take a few minutes to think about what you can say to let them know you’re in their corner and they’re not alone. It will build a better society.”
Dubbo MP Troy Grant is also urging the community to start a conversation.
“If you have a feeling someone you know or care about isn’t being themselves, start a conversation, ask if they are OK, listen, encourage them to seek help and don’t forget to check-in,” Mr Grant said.
R U OK? Day is on Thursday, September 14.
“My message for today is to ask a friend ‘are you okay?’,” Mr Doolan said.
For mental health assistance or referral to services in the Dubbo Electorate call the NSW Mental Health Line 24/7 on 1800 011 511.
If you or someone you know needs urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14.