Reach out on R U OK? Day

ASK THE QUESTION: R U OK? chief executive Katherine Newton said R U OK? Day gives people the chance to open up about how they are feeling. Photo: Supplied.

ASK THE QUESTION: R U OK? chief executive Katherine Newton said R U OK? Day gives people the chance to open up about how they are feeling. Photo: Supplied.

There is no doubt it has been a tough couple of years, and Whyallians are being encouraged to ask each other if they are really okay.

Thursday, September 9 is R U OK? Day, an Australia-wide movement built to inspire and empower everyone to connect with people in a meaningful way and start conversations with those around them who may be doing it tough.

It was created by national harm prevention charity R U OK?, and chief executive Katherine Newton said it gives people the chance to open up about how they are feeling.

The theme of this year's national day of action is 'Are they really OK? Ask them today'.

"None of us are immune to life's challenges whether that's a relationship breakdown, financial worries, work pressure or, sadly for some, the loss of a loved one," Ms Newton said.

"Sometimes it won't be obvious that someone is having a hard time but we know that when we ask early and in a genuine way, we can help someone who might be struggling feel connected and supported, long before they are in crisis."

She said everyone experiences ups and downs, and it was important to make asking if someone is okay a part of their everyday.

"We want to emphasise that an R U OK? conversation is not only for when someone is visibly distressed or in crisis and remind everyone that their support can make a difference for anyone who is struggling," she said.

While these conversations can be difficult to have, R U OK? has developed free resources so people can not only check in with their loved ones in a safe way, they can also respond appropriately if someone says they aren't going well.

Registered psychologist and suicidologist Ann-Maree Fardell Hartley said these tools can help build confidence in supporting each other.

"Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the people in their world feel connected and supported," she said.

"You don't have to be an expert, just a good friend and a great listener."

Find resources about how to have these conversations, and more information, at www.ruok.org.au

Support is available

If you or someone you know is struggling, there are services available.

Headspace Whyalla: 8641 4330. Open Monday-Thursday 9am-6pm, Friday 9am-5pm. https://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/whyalla/.

Mission Australia Centre Whyalla: 8645 6900. Open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Early mental health intervention, family mental health support service. https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/.

Lifeline: 24/7 hotline 13 11 14. Text from 12pm to 2am - 0477 13 11 14. lifelife.org.au

BeyondBlue: 24/7 hotline 1300 22 4636. Online chat 1pm-12am at beyondblue.org.au.

Suicide Call Back Service: Call 1300 659 467.