Parliamentarians ask RU OK?

Media statement, Thursday, 12 September, 2013. 

Today parliament acknowledged  ‘RU OK? Day’ when a motion by Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren was debated in the upper house. 

While the Minister for Mental Health made a statement at the beginning of the day’s sitting, shortly thereafter all Members of the Legislative Council were asked to reflect on World Suicide Prevention Day, to acknowledge the risk factors people face in their regions, and to actively support suicide prevention programmes by responding to the motion by Ms MacLaren, the Greens WA spokesperson on mental health.

“I took this opportunity to highlight suicide awareness and prevention programmes whilst encouraging all members to help increase momentum on addressing the issue throughout their electorates,” Ms MacLaren said.

MacLaren stated that she “could not emphasise enough how important it is that we take an opportunity like ‘RUOK? Day’ to give our loved ones, friends and co-workers that extra bit of support when they are struggling”.

“Every person has a responsibility to strive towards removing stigma surrounding mental health and in turn removing discrimination and exclusion that comes with that. We should be showing compassion and understanding towards people suffering with mental health problems, and maximise their potential in our communities. Let’s take today to strive for that”.

“There are lives at risk that could so easily be saved if we just started a conversation, cared a little bit more, and took the time to learn more about what mental health entails”.

“I was motivated to introduce this motion by the recent death of trans activist, Amber Maxwell. It is my hope that through greater awareness of the risk factors, and strong support for prevention programmes targeted to high risk groups, and to people in vulnerable circumstances, we can ensure that young trans people do not suffer as she did”.

The motion read:

“That the Council recognises World Suicide Prevention Day and RU OK? Day and that Members undertake to:
•     publicise suicide prevention programmes among their constituents
•     acknowledge the risk factors people face in their regions
•     actively support non-government and government programmes to prevent suicide
•     express our condolences to those who have been affected by the suicide of a loved one, co-worker or friend”.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 44, or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.