Standby to ask R U OK? this Thursday

On Thursday people will be encouraged to ask others R U OK?

But what can people do if someone says they are not okay?

Standby Support After Suicide Country North coordinator Jen Snook said it was important for people to know what to do when someone was struggling as more than 3000 Australians suicided each year.

“We promote to ask ‘are you okay?’ but the flipside of that is if someone says ‘no’, what do you do and what do you say?” she said. 

The Rogue and Rascal cafe in Port Lincoln will be participating in R U OK? Day on Thursday by having staff ask customers “are you okay?” and handing out helpful cards on what to do when someone is not okay.

Ms Snook will also be at the cafe with other Centacare staff to hand out information and be available if someone needs support or help with what to do and where to go for help. 

R U OK?: Centacare staff Robyn Nielsen, Naomi Smith, Jen Snook and Belinda Reynolds.

R U OK?: Centacare staff Robyn Nielsen, Naomi Smith, Jen Snook and Belinda Reynolds.

Standby works predominantly with bereaved family members or communities such as schools and workplaces by sending two team members to the house or establishment to “really listen” and gauge the individual’s situation and needs.

“It (the program) came about because when someone suicides, there seems to be either 100 people all trying to do the same thing for the family or no one,” Ms Snook said.

“Suicide seems to be, for a lot of people, really hard to know what to say, so a lot of people say nothing.

“Standby takes on the role almost of coordinating everybody else around that person.”

The support systems often put in place are counselling referrals and follow up calls after the first meeting.

“A lot of people just need to be linked into that ongoing support but don’t know where to go, or do know but at the time they’re so chaotic and confused they can’t remember where to go,” Ms Snook said.

“We go in when someone is struggling after a suicide and hopefully we can prevent that by putting those supports in for them that they are not able to put in for themselves at the time."

Since it was established in South Australia, the Standby support program gets the most feedback by people referring them onto someone else.

“We’re postvention not prevention but we see postvention as prevention,” Ms Snook said.

“People who are bereaved from a suicide are at a much higher risk of then taking their own life as well.”

If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues or suicide, contact the 24-hour hotline on 13 11 14 or the 24-hour Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.