R U OK? has recently launched the 'I ask my mob, in my way, are you OK?' kit as part of the targeted suicide prevention campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, ‘Stronger Together’. The suite of resources offer support and encourage communities to ask, listen and check in with each other.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a rich and unique culture that is integral to their sense of social and emotional wellbeing. In order to promote cultural and community connection, it is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to ask "are you OK?" in a way that respects the diversity of their experience and culture.
"We know that starting conversations early can stop little problems growing into big ones. We need our mob to ask the question, their way," says Dr Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat, Chair of the R U OK? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group. Dr Lee-Ah Mat is from the Yupungathi and Meriam people in Cape York and the Torres Strait.
The 'I ask my mob, in my way, are you OK?' resources include videos, a podcast series, social media tiles, posters and a conversation guide, and are led by community voices to share real stories to promote a sense of connection, hope and identity. The resources share stories from those with real life experience of doing it tough, and how a speaking to someone helped. Guidance is also provided on what to do if someone answers "no, I’m not OK."
Mr Steven Satour, a Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Pertame man from Central Australia, and the Stronger Together Campaign Manager at R U OK? says, 'The Stronger Together campaign reinforces the power of yarning and 'I ask my mob, in my way, are you OK?' is about showing the many ways we can ask, listen, encourage, and check in with our mob.'
The most important thing for mob to remember is that you don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be yourself and ask, in your own way, so you look after your mob,' says Mr Satour.
The 'I ask my mob, in my own way, are you OK?' resources are freely available to download from the R U OK? Stronger Together website. They have been released in the lead up to R U OK? Day on Thursday 9 September, where everyone is encouraged to check in with one another.