On 12 September 2019, the directors and staff at Stacks Goudkamp recognise the importance of the suicide prevention initiative, R U OK Day. For our clients and colleagues who are not familiar with the concept, R U OK Day is an initiative run by a suicide prevention charity[1] that aims to eliminate the stigma associated with discussing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation aloud. The day encourages people to stimulate conversation between friends, family and colleagues about these issues that are still largely taboo subjects.

The focus on R U OK Day this year is recognising the signs that someone close to you may need support and encouraging you to reach out. Reaching out can involve asking the question, “are you ok?” It can also involve letting the people you care about know that you are there for them, whether it be through words or gestures.

The R U OK Day website provides some helpful ways to get meaningful conversation going. It also provides suggestions on how to help the people you care about when they indicate that they are not ok.[2]

It is important to remember that you may not be equipped to help your friend, family member or colleague in the way that they need help. If you feel that someone is in immediate danger, you should call 000. If you are worried about someone and feel that professional support is needed, or you need help yourself, you should contact a local GP or one of the helplines below:[3]

  • beyondblue aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours / 7 days a week.
  • Blue Knot Foundation Helpline (formerly ASCA Professional Support Line) provides help, information, support or referral for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, their partners, family and friends, health professionals and anyone in the workplace working with people who have experienced childhood trauma and abuse. Call 1300 657 380, 9am-5pm AEST / 7 days a week.
  • Butterfly Foundation’s National Helpline, ED HOPE, is a free, confidential service that provides information, counselling and treatment referral for people with eating disorders, and body image and related issues. Call 1800 33 4673, 8am-midnight AEST / 7 days a week.
  • eheadspace provides mental health and wellbeing support, information and services to young people aged 12 to 25 years and their families. Call 1800 650 890, 9am-1am AEST / 7 days a week.
  • Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counseling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25. Call 1800 55 1800.
  • Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counseling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.
  • MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, 24 hours / 7 days a week.
  • MindSpot is a free telephone and online service for people with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. It provides online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression. MindSpot is not an emergency or instant response service. Call 1800 61 44 34 AEST, 8am-8pm (Mon-Fri), 8am-6pm (Sat).
  • QLife provides nationwide telephone and web-based services to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people of all ages. Call 1800 184 527, 3pm-12am (midnight) AEST / 7 days a week.
  • PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) provides a national telephone information, counselling and referral service staffed by trained volunteers, professional counsellors and supervising staff. Many helpline counsellors have had their own experience of perinatal depression or anxiety. Call 1300 726 306, 9am-7:30pm AEST (Mon-Fri).
  • SANE Australia provides support, training and education enabling those with a mental illness to lead a better life. Call 1800 18 7263, 10am-10pm AEST (Mon-Fri).
  • Suicide Call Back Service provides 24/7 support if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Call 1300 659 467.
  • Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and anger. Call 1800 011 046.

Stacks Goudkamp is dedicated to fostering the mental wellbeing of our directors and staff. We encourage you to get behind this initiative, start a conversation and ask someone you care about: R U OK? What seems like a small gesture can be the difference between a person suffering in silence and a person reaching out for help.

[1] See R U OK Day, ‘What We’re About’ (Web Page) https://www.ruok.org.au/what-were-about.

[2] See ibid <https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask>.

[3] See Health Direct, ‘Mental Health Helplines’ (Web Page) https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-helplines; R U OK Day (n 1) <https://www.ruok.org.au/findhelp>.

Written by Megan Sault.

Megan Sault is a Paralegal in Alexander Morrison’s Practice Group specialising in motor vehicle claims and public liability claims that occur both within Australia and overseas.