Stop and ask someone... R U OK?

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Stop and ask someone... R U OK?

Today is R U OK? Day, the national day promoting open, honest communication about mental health in the workplace and wider community.

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Today is R U OK? Day, the national day promoting open, honest communication about mental health in the workplace and wider community. The day is a reminder to everyone to ask ‘R U OK?’ and start a conversation with those who might be struggling.

Preventing suicide


R U OK? was founded by Gavin Larkin who lost his father to suicide in 2009. The organisation aims to empower Australians to make meaningful connections and encourage community responsibility in preventing suicide.
 
According to R U OK? statistics, there are more than 3000 suicide deaths in Australia each year, with an average of eight people dying everyday by suicide. For every death it is estimated that 30 people will attempt to take their life and 89% of people report knowing someone who has attempted to take their life.
 
R U OK? lists two major contributing factors as isolation and the belief that one is a burden. Other factors include financial difficulty and job loss. 
 
The foundation encourages everyone to take four simple steps to connect with someone who is suffering: Ask them if they are OK, listen, encourage them to take action and seek help and check in regularly to see how they’re going.

Workplace mental health

 
According to Safe Work Australia, mental health conditions make up 6% of workers compensation claims with 7200 Australian workers being compensated a total of $543 million each year.
 
Psychological hazards in the workplace include high and low job demand, poor support and workplace relationships, traumatic events, low role clarity, poor organisation and management, isolation and poor environment conditions.
 
Occupations with the highest claim rates for mental health conditions include defence and emergency workers, drivers, prison and security officers and health and welfare support officers.
 
Under state work, health and safety laws, employers have a duty of care to provide employees with a mentally healthy environment. It is unlawful under s15 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 for an employer to discriminate against someone on the grounds of disability, including a mental health condition.

More info for employers

 
Read parts one and two of ‘Managing mental health at work' as well as ‘Managing employee stress'.

It is also vital for employers to know how to manage specific mental health concerns such as trauma and OCD
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