Every year on 8 September, Australia marks R U OK? Day as a national day of action to reach out to family, friends and work colleagues and ask, ‘R U OK?’

This day is dedicated to reminding everyone that difficulties in life happen to all of us and that genuine support can make a difference – whatever someone is facing, big or small.
According to R U OK? Day research, four in 10 Australians feel asking someone ‘R U OK?’ is a conversation better had with an expert. However, you don’t need to be an expert or have qualifications to have an R U OK? conversation. This year’s theme is: ‘Ask R U OK? No Qualifications Needed.’

Listening and giving someone your time might be just what they need to help them through.

CALM Suicide Awareness Workshop

One of our Support Centre Team Leaders, Monisha D’Souza, recently facilitated a CALM (Connect, Ask, Listen, Monitor) Suicide Awareness workshop at The Benevolent Society.
“The workshop helps staff develop skills to identify potential risk factors and warning signs of suicide. They practice on how to ask about suicide, develop skills for making referrals and recognise the differences between several types of burnouts,” says Monisha.
The workshop prepares staff to recognise the impact of suicide and distinguish between myths and facts, identify potential risk factors and warnings, practice how to ask about suicide and discuss overcoming stigma associated with the concept of suicide.

“Participants develop skills for making warm referral techniques (handing clients to another agency, support service or colleague) and strategies, recognising the differences between burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and moral injury; and formulate a self-care plan.”

No qualifications needed

The workshop provided guidelines around how to identify warning signs of suicide and support someone who may be thinking about it. Participants learned about the CALM CARE app, so that they could share it with the person needing care and teach them how to access ongoing support.
“I think the ‘no qualifications needed’ is a great concept, as it’s really important for everyone to understand that they don’t need to be qualified to ask someone ‘Are you ok?’ or ‘How are you doing?’ says Monisha.

“The CALM workshops encourage us to use our often well-developed skills of actively listening and empathising with a person who is considering suicide. When we do this, we sit with and acknowledge the person’s pain which lets them know we care. After we actively listen, then we can move to actions with the person. It could change someone’s life.
“We don’t need to provide therapy or fix things; we just want to find out how a person is coping and let them know we care. By asking ‘Are you ok?’ we can reach out to someone who may not be coping and needs attention.” 

For more information, visit the RUOK? Day website for helpful resources and tools.