Are You Okay Day is an annual observation in Australia, celebrated on the second Thursday of every September. This year, it falls on September 14. On this day, Australians check up on each other, especially those who are going through a tough time. Since we keep too busy all year round, it is great that days like Are You Okay Day are observed to make us and those around us seen, heard, and understood. The day also addresses the crisis of social isolation and community cohesiveness. With a focus on the prevention of suicides and counseling, Are You Okay Day saves lives.
History of Are You Okay Day
In 1995, Barry Larkin’s suicide left his family and friends in deep grief and with unanswered questions. In 2009, his son Gavin Larkin chose to do something about his father’s suicide. He came up with just one question to honor his father and prevent more suicides: “Are you okay?” Gavin and a few of his friends decided to turn this into a national campaign. From this realization and with their expertise and passion, R U OK? was born.
Gavin died of cancer in 2011 but truly held on to the belief that a conversation could change a life. His legacy is now a national conversation movement. R U OK? is a harm and suicide prevention charity that encourages people to have conversations that can help others and themselves navigate the difficult times in their lives. In 2011, a documentary was made on the extraordinary story behind R U OK?
R U OK? focuses on building the motivation, confidence, and skills of the help-giver, especially in quickly recognizing suicidal ideations. The organization contributes to suicide prevention efforts by encouraging people to invest more time in their relationships and build an informal support network — friends, family, and colleagues. It is more about developing one’s skills as a helper than it is asking for help when you need it. Are You Okay Day also tries to remove the stigma of mental illnesses.
Are You Okay Day timeline
The suicide of Barry Larkin shocks his loved ones.
Gavin Larkin decides to do something to prevent more suicides.
A documentary film on the founder of R U OK? is made.
The documentary team reaches out to Garry Larkin’s family after his death in 2011.
Are You Okay Day FAQs
Do people actually ask “Are you okay?”
Recent research revealed that 69% of Australians had asked someone “Are you OK?” at least once in the previous month, and that people are increasingly willing to reach out and offer support to someone who might be struggling in life.
What do you say after “Are you okay?”
You could say something like “I understand you don’t feel like talking at the moment but I am here when you are ready” or “Is there someone else you would like to talk to instead?”. Let them know you are still concerned about them and that you care.
Why do we celebrate Are You Okay?
Are You Okay Day is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that every day is the day to ask “are you okay?” and support the people in your life.
Are You Okay Day Activities
Yellow is the official color of R U OK? Observe Are You Okay Day by wearing yellow or pinning a smile badge to your lapel. This is an indicator that you are ready to speak with someone who needs help.
“Are you okay?”
Ask yourself and those around you, if they are okay. Start a conversation on Are You Okay Day by simply asking “Are you okay?”. If someone hesitates in answering or tells you they are not doing okay, that’s your cue to spring into action.
Attend awareness programs
R U OK? conducts several awareness programs on suicide prevention on Are You Okay Day. Attend one of the programs to learn how you can be a help-giver and what to do in a serious situation.
5 Interesting Facts About Suicide
Suicides are more common than we think
Every year, more than 700,000 people die of suicide.
Countries are non-uniformly affected
79% of all suicide take place in low and middle-income countries.
Women are more likely to attempt suicide
Women are three times more likely to attempt suicide than men.
Men are more likely to commit suicide
Men are 3.5 times more likely than women to die of suicide.
The queer community is more prone
Youth of the queer community are five times more likely to take their lives than their counterparts.
Why We Love Are You Okay Day
It saves lives
Are You Okay Day is committed to saving lives and preventing suicidal ideations. A question as simple as “are you okay?” can help save lives. How cool and life-changing is that!
It helps us battle loneliness
It is not unusual to feel lonely. However, prolonged loneliness can make us feel unloved and helpless. Are You Okay Day is an attempt to battle loneliness and create informal support networks.
It destigmatizes mental illness
Are You Okay Day and R U OK? also work together tirelessly to destigmatize mental illnesses. Something as simple as accepting mental illnesses and having conversations about them can prevent mental illnesses.
Are You Okay Day dates