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Minister Scullion - R U OK? Day: Asking one simple question

14 Sep 2017
  • 14 September is RU OK? Day – a national day of action to raise awareness about mental health issues and encourage all Australians to have a conversation with friends, family and colleagues by asking a simple question.
  • Suicide is a leading cause of death amongst Indigenous Australians (12.5 deaths per 100,000) and twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians (25 deaths per 100,000).
  • Through the $5 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the National Closing the Gap agenda, the Coalition Government is investing in a range of health and social support services to tackle high rates of Indigenous suicide.

Today is R U OK? Day – a national day of action to encourage Australians to connect with their friends, family and colleagues by asking one simple question.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, who is a Conversation Mate for R U OK? Day said that around one in five Australians experience mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

“R U OK? Day is about meaningful connections that can help to protect people from suicide by checking in with those around you, listening without judgement and helping them to feel supported,” said Minister Scullion.

“Tragically, every day across Australia eight people take their lives. The rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is twice that of the rest of the population.  

“Reducing the devastatingly high rates of suicide among First Australians is a priority for the Coalition Government. For suicide rates to fall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians must be able to access responsive and culturally-appropriate care.

“This year a $10 million National Indigenous Critical Response Service was established, providing a culturally-appropriate suicide and trauma response to communities, operating in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia in 2017.

Over the next two years the Service will be rolled out across the nation, providing holistic care and support to individuals, families and communities who are dealing with the trauma of suicide.

“We have also expanded Indigenous mental health first aid training for remote communities. This $11.5 million program equips frontline workers to identify and respond to the early signs of mental health issues and encourage people to seek professional support.

“I am working closely with Minister Wyatt on suicide prevention trials across the country, specifically the two Indigenous specific sites in the Kimberley and Darwin regions.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project report is informing the suicide prevention trials in these regions.

“I urge all Australians to check in with their loved ones, colleagues and friends regularly to ask R U OK? – it’s a simple question that can make a big difference.” 

For more information about R U OK? Day, and to access a range of valuable everyday resources go to www.ruok.org.au.

Find out more

Visit the Minister's website to view the original media release.