R U OK? reinforces ‘here to hear’ message


Non-profit suicide prevention organisation, R U OK?, is calling on skilled workers to let their workmates and loved ones know: ‘I’m here to hear’, every day of the year.

The organisation has dedicated resources to encourage meaningful conversations across various business sectors.

The free R U OK? Tradies Tools to Talk resources provide practical tools and tips for family, friends, and workmates to spot the signs that someone on their work site may be struggling, to empower them to spark a meaningful R U OK? conversation and to help them find support if needed. All Tradies Tools to Talk resources are free and available at the R U OK? website.

R U OK? Community Ambassador, Andre Sakr, is a construction project manager in Sydney and lives with anxiety and depression.

“Tradies face a range of challenges across their working lives – from job uncertainty to financial pressures, intense physical demands, and workplace culture issues,” said Sakr. “In an industry where stigma is high, these pressures can build up and impact mental and emotional wellbeing for tradies if they don’t feel they can talk to others about their struggles.”

Sakr emphasised how important it is to have an authentic conversation with someone close to you, who takes the time to take notice and really listen.

“I think being genuine is one of the most important things you can do when you’re talking to someone,” said Sakr. “There is a lot of stigma around talking about mental health, especially in the workforce meaning a lot of people will not really feel comfortable coming forward.

“This is why it is so important to be genuine in your approach with that real desire to help. This allows people to open up more and it does knock down that wall.”

Sakr’s experience reinforces how showing genuine interest and concern when you ask someone, ‘are you ok?’ can encourage a meaningful conversation.

R U OK? CEO, Katherine Newton, said you need to ask this question because you mean it.

“If you really care and want to hear an honest answer, be genuine with your ask, make space to listen and let the person know you’re sticking around for whatever comes next,” she said.

“We know the positive impact an R U OK? conversation have when people know and trust each other.

“This usually means that trust has been built over time, they’re familiar with each other’s routines and behaviours, and they likely know what’s going on in each other’s lives.

“This trust, along with consideration of the where and when a conversation will take place contributes to making an R U OK? conversation truly meaningful.”

Free resources are available via the R U OK? website.

For support at any time of day or night, Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis support. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online at: lifeline.org.au.

MATES in Construction offers free 24/7 support by telephone for Australian construction workers. Call 1300 642 111.

Mensline offer free 24/7 support for by telephone and online for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. Call 1300 78 99 78 or chat online at: mensline.org.au.

13YARN is a free 24/7 service offering crisis support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Call 13YARN (13 92 76).

This R U OK?Day is Thursday 14 September 2023.

In other news, transport businesses brace for new Fair Work legislation.

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