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R U OK? Day falls on the 8th of September this year, with this year's message being ‘Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed.’

R U OK? is a national suicide prevention initiative that encourages Australians to connect with people in the community, your colleagues, friends, family, and loved ones – encouraging them to generate constructive discussion about issues such as suicide, depression, isolation and mental illness.

The aim is to encourage people to stay connected and have meaningful conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives.

The 'No qualifications needed' theme this year is based on research that indicates four in ten Australians feel asking someone “are you OK?” is a conversation better had with an expert.

However, R U OK? want you to know you don’t need qualifications to have an R U OK? conversation. 

The work of health professionals is vital, and their value cannot be underestimated however we can all play a role in supporting the people in our world. 

You don’t need to be an expert to have an R U OK? conversation. Listening and giving someone your time might be just what they need to help them through.

The R U OK? charity has some terrific resources to help equip you for those conversations, and some coaching to help get you ready to have a conversation which could literally change someone’s life.

Available from www.ruok.org.au resources walk you through four easy steps of; ask; listen; encourage action; and check in. There are webinars and role plays to help you, and a really important section in the ‘How to Ask’ area that can help you get ready. Questions such as if you are ready to ask, are you prepared for where the conversation may go and how best to pick your moment and environment.

There are also specific resources available to emergency service personnel, with the sub-theme of "Are they triple ok" referencing the triple zero environment of our work. You can access these resources by visiting https://www.ruok.org.au/are-they-triple-ok-resources 

Remember, that all members including your immediate family members have free access to CFA’s wellbeing and welfare services 24 hours day, 7 days a week. You can access these via 1800 959 232 or via www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing 

This year’s R U OK? day is a great reminder of the incredible power each of you have to make a real difference in someone else’s life. If you have noticed someone in your life who might be experiencing some personal difficulties or is struggling with life’s current uncertainties (COVID-19 isolation for example) your genuine support and compassion can have a huge influence. Use R U OK? day to remind ourselves not to wait until someone is visibly distressed or in crisis before we act and check-in.

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.