Port Augusta gets involved in R U OK Day

HEALTH: Venessa Blinman and Lisa Hutchinson chipped in to raise suicide prevention awareness outside of Woolworths on Thursday, September 13.
HEALTH: Venessa Blinman and Lisa Hutchinson chipped in to raise suicide prevention awareness outside of Woolworths on Thursday, September 13.

Local businesses and community members around Port Augusta did their bit to start the conversation about suicide prevention on R U OK Day.

10 coffee shops around Port Augusta were provided with promotional material by the Suicide Invervention and Life Promotion Action Group (SILPAG), while Better Homes Supplies Mitre 10, Stratco, Woolworths, Foodland and Coles all held information stalls.

Stalls offered free cupcakes, wristbands and information booklets to all residents.

SILPAG Deputy Chair Chez Curnow said the community’s support for R U OK Day has grown significantly.

“Six years ago, when we embarked on our first event, we were nervous about approaching businesses as not everyone was comfortable with the message,” Mrs Curnow said.

“Media outlets too were at times unsure about publishing our stories.”

The Office Cafe and Catering was the only coffee shop to participate in Port Augusta’s inaugural R U OK Day.

Now six years later, Mrs Curnow said businesses approach SILPAG to get involved in raising suicide prevention awareness.

“We are blown away by the increase in uptake and so proud of our community for embracing the R U OK? message that ‘conversations need to happen every day. You don't need to be an expert, just a good friend and a great listener’,” Mrs Curnow said.

“We always wanted the community to be part of the change and now we can see it happening.”

SILPAG was established in 2012 with the aim of breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health to make more people comfortable in reaching out for help when they need it.

R U OK?, with the slogan ‘A conversation could change a life’, encourages four simple steps to starting a conversation:

  1. Ask R U OK?
  2. Listen with an open mind.
  3. Encourage action.
  4. Check in.

Support is available from the following organisations:

Lifeline – 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline (for 5-25 years) – 1800 551 800, beyondblue – 1300 224 636, headspace (for 12-25 years) – 1800 650 890, Mensline – 1300 789 978, PANDA – 1300 726 306.