R U OK? Afield - a new program helping mining workers
Chances are you've heard of R U OK?Day - it's now held annually in September and has become a national day of action encouraging all Australians to ask family, friends and colleagues, "Are you ok?"
Well, the R U OK? Foundation - an independent, not-for-profit organisation committed to providing national focus and leadership on suicide prevention - has recently launched the R U OK? Afield program.
R U OK? Afield is designed to promote connection and a positive working environment among people who work in remote locations and are removed from their support network on a regular or extended basis. This obviously includes FIFO and DIDO employees in mining, oil and gas extraction, plus farmers and anyone exposed to social isolation through their job. The resources were developed in partnership with industry experts, The Centre for Corporate Health.
There are a few major aims of the R U OK? Afield program, including:
- To educate employees, managers and executives working away from traditional support networks about how to manage difficult situations
- To empower employees, managers and executives in remote locations to say "I’m not OK" when struggling with a problem, big or small
- To help people respond appropriately to a friend, colleague or member of staff who says, "I’m not ok"
- To educate people about how and where to access help
- To cultivate a positive workplace community and reduce workplace stress
Program director Jo Cooper says connection and open, honest conversations are good for us all – whether or not we’re struggling with a problem.
"We feel valued, supported and connected with the people around us," Jo says. "There is also an emerging body of research which links supportive social relationships and a sense of social connection with protective factors in suicide prevention."
So, how do you start a conversation?
R U OK? resources are designed to help you start a conversation with anyone you’re concerned about or find the courage to say, "I’m not ok". They have resources for you and your workplace, school, uni, TAFE, sport team, health facility and community available to download. These resources are released throughout the year on their website to help keep conversations going. You can also watch stories of inspiration and role plays to help you start that conversation with someone you care about.
For further information and free resources on the R U OK? Afield program, visit their website www.ruokday.com/resources-for-you/r-u-ok-afield/.
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