08 September 2016

Shayne Neumann has used R U OK? Day to call on all those in Ipswich and the Somerset Region to reconnect with people they have lost touch with.

The R U OK? Day campaign has released new research that shows that one third of Australians have unintentionally lost contact with four or more family members or friends, while a further 10 per cent have lost contact with none or more people.

“It can be difficult to maintain connections with our family and friends when our lives become so busy or our circumstances change,” Mr Neumann said.

“As a community and as individuals I believe it is important to make a promise to change that and make more time for the people we care about.

“On R U OK? Day we need to make that commitment to reach out to someone we’ve lost contact with and simply ask them, ‘are you OK?’ ”

Mr Neumann said R U OK? Day, followed by World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, are important campaigns to raise awareness about suicide prevention across our communities and encourages people to have regular and meaningful conversations with their family and friends.

“The rate of suicide is growing in this nation; with annual suicide toll now twice the annual road toll.

“Approximately seven Australians die from suicide every single day, and for every person who dies from suicide, 30 more will attempt suicide.

“It is devastating for those individuals, as well as their families, friends and the broader community.

“We can make a small difference by reaching out to someone and asking them, R U OK?”

Mr Neumann said Labor continues to support a comprehensive, whole-of-community approach to suicide prevention.

“This includes our commitment to adopt the National Mental Health Commission’s target to reduce suicides by 50 per cent over the next ten years.

“I am inspired by the efforts of dedicated individuals and organisations committed to suicide prevention.

“It’s up to all of us to get involved if we are to make a difference.”

Visit www.ruok.org.au to find out how you can start a conversation.

Visit www.wspd.org.au to find out about this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day theme ‘Connect, communicate, care’.

For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978