...a national day of action dedicated to inspiring all Australians to ask family, friends and colleagues, ‘Are you ok?’ By regularly reaching out to one another and having open and honest conversations, we can all help build a more connected community and reduce our country’s high suicide rate.
It's prime objective is suicide prevention - and it isn't just about encouraging people to check in with their friends and family just once a year - on the second Thursday in September. It's about getting into the habit of checking in with one another on a regular basis because good communication can nip so many things, that might otherwise escalate, in the bud. So not just suicide prevention, although that's where it started. But learning how to keep our ears, eyes and hearts open and then taking the time to show some concern.
There are some obvious targets - people who are on our care for lists (and for those who pray, on our prayer lists as well) - people in great need whose loads are great and difficult. But today I have been thinking about the people who often fall between the cracks as well.
Those newly retired or new empty nesters - for some the transition is is unexpectedly difficult.
Parents of missionaries.
The primary carers of the elderly, the physically ill, the mentally ill, the addicted.
The spouse or children of the long term unemployed or of one suffering from long term depression.
Those whose jobs it is to constantly care - doctors, nurses, chaplains...
The boss - it IS lonely at the top - or anyone in serious leadership.
Those who have suffered a bereavement more than twelve months ago and who "ought to be over it."
There are others I'm sure. It is good and essential to be caring for the suffering. And it is good to be alert to those not quite in the frontline of difficulty and suffering but one step removed.
Are you OK?
I hope so.