R U OK? Day launches a nine week 'Trust the Signs Tour' travelling around 14,000 km to every state and territory


R U OK?: A Trust the Signs Tour has been making its way across Australia, covering 14,000 km of Australian roads to encourage people to learn the signs to support those who are struggling. Picture: Supplied

R U OK?: A Trust the Signs Tour has been making its way across Australia, covering 14,000 km of Australian roads to encourage people to learn the signs to support those who are struggling. Picture: Supplied

Do you know the signs?

National suicide prevention charity, R U OK?, has found almost two-thirds of Australians (63 percent) are not confident they know when someone might be struggling with life, and they're encouraging people to brush up.

From trusting your gut, to asking the simple question "are you OK?", these simple steps help to support anyone who may be struggling with life's ups and downs.

To spread the message that even such a small question can make a huge difference, a Trust the Signs Tour has been travelling around every state and territory.

The tour finishes up in Sydney on R U OK? Day, September 12, after visiting 24 communities that looked to get people familiar with the signs that someone may be struggling.

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said that what people are saying, what they are doing and what's going on in their life can provide signs as to whether they need support .

"We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who's struggling can make a difference. But what we're hearing is that people aren't sure when is the right time to have an R U OK? conversation," Ms Newton said.

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"Signs can be subtle changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour," she said.

"You might spot a love one is having unusual mood swings, changes in sleep, or a mate might be withdrawing from social situations like not turning up to sport training."

The Trust the Signs Tour will involve an educational experience where people can learn more about the signs someone may be struggling with life.

Inside a giant installation people can interact with life-size silhouettes and signposts to guide them through what might be going on in someone's life and what they might say or do if they're struggling.

"We're encouraging people to look out for those cues," Ms Newton said.

"We should also make a conscious effort to reach out to someone going through a significant life change such as job loss, relationship breakdown, study pressure or perhaps becoming a parent," she said.

"This R U OK? Day, we want to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life."

Each event on the Trust the Signs Tour involves mental health, volunteer and suicide prevention organisations connecting with local communities to highlight the support services available to them when an R U OK? conversation is too big for friends and family alone.

For more information on how to get involved visit www.ruok.org.au.

For support at any time of the day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.