Industry supports R U OK? Day

R U OK? is an Australian non-profit suicide prevention organisation, founded by Gavin Larkin OAM in 2009 as a response to his father Barry’s suicide in 1995, and held this year on Thursday September 9.

Larkin remained a passionate champion of the fact a conversation could change a life, even as cancer ended his own in 2011. His legacy is a national conversation movement which continues to equip Australians with the skills and confidence to support those struggling with issues and has a particular fit to the road transport industry.

In partnership with the Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds Foundation (HHTS), Linfox is a strong advocate for R U OK? Day at an industry level to empower operators in the road transport, warehousing and logistics industries to connect and support each other.

“Given the extreme challenges the industry has faced over the last eighteen months, it’s likely that we all may know someone who might be struggling,” said CEO of HHTS, Naomi Frauenfelder.

“Knowing how to ask someone how they are really going and being able to provide genuine support could make a huge difference in someone’s life. If you notice a change in a colleague, ask them how they’re travelling and be prepared to listen with an open mind,” said Frauenfelder.

At Linfox, team members mark the day with a company-wide virtual catch-up hosted by Linfox’s Healthy Fox team.

“As we navigate our way through lockdowns and restrictions, it is an important time for everyone to check in with family, friends and work mates to see how they are really going,” said Linfox Health and Wellbeing Manager, Marian Merrigan.

“Life’s ups and downs occur to many of us, and we are impacted by them in different ways. You can make a difference by making the time to check in and ask people ‘Are they really OK?’ Ask them today.”

R U OK? contributes to suicide prevention efforts by encouraging people to invest more time in their personal relationships and be alert to those around them to help connect others to appropriate support long before they’re in crisis.

Toll Group has invested in several programs to support its people’s wellbeing including Mental Health First Aid, employee support and chaplaincy as well as a range of awareness and training programs. These form a foundation that the company wishes to continue to build upon to help break down the stigma that being unhappy is a burden on others.

“If you’re prepared to talk to a workmate about how they’re really feeling, it could help someone who is struggling long before they’re in crisis.” said RU OK? CEO Katherine Newton.

Other fleets, including VISY, Lindsay Transport, Qube and ACFS Port Logistics have also championed the cause.

Membrey’s Transport & Crane Hire Managing Director, Craig Membrey, who lost his son to suicide 10 years ago, shared a heartfelt message on LinkedIn including a video tribute.

“It’s ok to talk about your problems,” he said “Please share this – maybe it will help someone. Make it happen.”

Border Express said it has been a challenging year and is taking a moment today to share a few messages as it joins the movement.

“As all states have or are going through tough lockdown restrictions which may inhibit gatherings of some form, to all our staff we are thinking of you during this time. ⁠

“Make yourself a cuppa and have a chat with a mate or work colleague in person to make sure that they are doing ok. It’s healthy for them, and it’s healthy for you.

“It’s ok to not be ok!

“If you’re not ok: reach out to someone; utilise your company’s EAP service; contact your GP or HealthCare provider.

“If one of your staff is not ok: Assist with any crisis; listen and do not judge; give support; encourage the person to seek professional help; encourage other supports where applicable i.e. EAP; follow-up with them at a subsequent time. ⁠

“Please enjoy the day, look after yourself and each other. Your genuine support can make a difference.”

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