Are you ok? Such a simple question but one that has the potential to save a life.
In Australia suicide continues to be the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 44 years of age* – and according to statistics from Lifeline.org.au, for every death by suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives.
With such alarming numbers and a recent spike in suicide deaths around the Nambucca Valley, locals are pulling together to help raise awareness by asking the simple question ‘are you ok?’
In hopes of firing up the conversation around depression, a team of 20 local runners are heading down to Sydney for this Sunday’s City2Surf 14-kilometre fun run to raise funds and awareness for the suicide prevention charity RUOK?.
Gemma Rostron from the 2018 RUOK? Nambucca Valley City2Surf Team said personal struggles have driven her to help raise the profile on how to seek help for depression.
“I completed the fun run last year in aid of RUOK? and was shocked really at the low number of runners for this charity,” Gem said.
“It’s close to my heart because of my own personal struggles in life a few years back.
“I decided that in 2018 I should put together a team to take down [to the Sydney City2Surf] and was surprised at how many people wanted to join me.”
Gem said the team are close to reaching their $10,000 fundraising target.
“We have raised over $7000 and I’ve got another $1000 this morning from business houses… I’m hoping [donations] continue to rise this week,” Gem said.
On Saturday the team raised a further $400 following a charity day at Macksville netball courts for the Round 10 Nambucca Valley Netball Association Saturday morning competition.
The 20 runners are from Macksville, Valla and Nambucca and many of them have experienced heartache in their lives from suicide.
“I believe the RUOK? message is spot on!” Gem said.
“Checking in on our friends and making sure they know someone cares is sometimes all we need, depressed or not.
“For a depressed or anxious person to know someone cares could be life saving.
“Are you ok? It’s so easy. Yet so effective,” Gem said.
At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition, however is largely preventable and treatable. Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical step towards recovery according to the Mental Health Innovation Network.
Donate to the Nambucca Valley City2Surf team
The 2018 RUOK? Nambucca Valley City2Surf Team aims to encourage meaningful connections between friends and family to ask about life's ups and downs and strengthen a person’s sense of belonging. They want more people to feel relevant, strong and dynamic while joining forces to help save lives by asking one simple question RUOK? Donate here
Step by step: asking someone if they are OK?
The RUOK? website offers a step by step guide on how to offer help by asking ‘Are you ok?’
Advice from the website outlines how by starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up.
If they say they are not ok, you can follow steps to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask.
*Statistics taken from Lifeline.org.au
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