Why R U OK, Is The Most Important Question You Can Ask Today

The suicide rate in Australia increases every year, particularly among men. According to the Black Dog Institute, “Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age”.  

With the shocking statistic of six men taking their lives every day, it becomes an even more critical time to stop and ask family, friends and colleagues, R U OK?

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Image: Pineapple Media Australia

Having had my own mental health struggles over the past two years, post two major surgeries– open heart surgery in 2018 and the removal of a brain tumour this year, I know how hard it can be to get through each day. 

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Receiving a pair of Nike’s after my successful brain surgery. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan is something I’ve lived and breathed over the past 18 months.

When someone checks in and asks if you are OK, this helps initiate a conversation. You never know where this conversation will lead; however, it may help someone open up about their mental health battle. And most importantly, it may even save a life.

Working in the police and military for most of my life, I am proud of the initiatives these organisations are implementing to help tackle PTSD and other mental health disorders in the workplace. 

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With my Team in Iraq, 2006
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Graduating from the Victoria Police Academy in 2000, with my parents and daughter.

As a country, we still have more work to do when it comes to suicide prevention and policies that prioritise mental health, which is evident in the terrifying statistics. But today highlights how as individuals, we can help those around us and get one step closer to ending this epidemic.

I urge you to have a chat today with friends, family and work colleagues, mainly if you have fallen out of touch with them and ask, R U OK?

We will be certainly checking in with each other and our extended families here at Front and Centre.

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With my beautiful wife, Grazina Fechner, who helps me get through every day.

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