This year RUOK Day (10 September) assumes an even greater significance in the face of the isolation that the COVID-19 pandemic has enforced on us all.

The strains of lockdown are showing in rising numbers of mental health issues, suicide and violence in the home. The simple act of checking in with your friends, neighbours and family and asking them how they are could set them on the road to change or to even change their lives.

It does require more than simply asking the question. RUOK says listen to the response and encourage action and check in regularly to see that the person is on the right path.

The RUOK is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that was created by the late Gavin Larkin in 2009 in tribute to his father who committed suicide in 1996. The organisation works with suicide and mental health experts, government departments, corporate, education and community leaders and groups.

RUOK Day is celebrated on the second Thursday of September each year.

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The aim of the organisation is to encourage Australians to communicate with people who have emotional insecurities, to address social isolation and promote community cohesiveness.

For more information on how to help visit the RUOK organisation’s website.