What do travel companies like Virgin Australia, Accor and Metro have in common today? Aside from being part of the best industry, they’re also heavily involved in ‘RUOK?’ Day.
Did you know that in the time it took you to read that opening sentence at least one person attempted to commit suicide somewhere around the world?
Did you know that more than 2,500 Australians die from suicide every year – that’s seven people a day. A further 65,000 attempt suicide each year in Australia and it’s the biggest killer of Australians under 44 years.
While the feeling of isolation resides in both men and women in the our community, it’s men that account for around 75 percent of all suicide deaths in Australia.
That facts are hard to believe but suicidal thoughts are more common amongst Aussies than you’d expect and can be felt by anyone – even the person in the next cubicle.
That’s why on the seventh national ‘R U OK?’ day the Suicide Prevention Organisation is calling on Australians to make more effort to have regular, meaningful conversations with anyone who might be struggling.
Australian Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, said that meaningful conversations with family and friends aren’t about solving someone’s problem; but helping that person feel connected and supported.
“We’ll all grapple with tragedy, loss, and grief through life – and many of us will also live with a mental illness.”
Hon Sussan Ley MP
“Regular, meaningful conversations are one way we can all support each other to cope with change, adversity and illness. If you ask; listen without judgement; encourage action; and follow up, you can make a positive difference to someone’s resilience and wellbeing.
Taking the Minister’s advice, companies within the travel industry have dedicated the next 24 hours to ensuring their guests and staff ask and ask ‘RUOK?’.
Sir Richard Branson
Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson is urging Aussies to pick up the phone and ensure family and friends are okay by offering free calls for all customers of Virgin Mobile.
The offer is valid today and is available on all calls made across Australia.
“I think everyone could recall a bad patch in their life, or simply a bad day.”
Sir Richard Branson
“I know I can! I wouldn’t have been able to get through the hard times without being able to have real and honest conversations with the people around me. I know the power a conversation can have.”
Metro Hotel on Pitt
Property Manager of Metro Hotel on Pitt, Simon Wanstall, and team have held a number of events leading up to ‘RUOK’ Day.
The events included both guests and colleagues and encouraged them to partake in conversations and promote friendship.
Wanstall said he hoped the efforts of the event leading up to today helped raise awareness of the campaign.
“Our mantra borrowed from www.RUOK.org.au, is that it isn’t okay to ask to borrow someone’s toothbrush, but it is okay to ask RU OK?”
Simon Wanstall, Metro Hotel on Pitt Property Manager
Metro Hotel Group says it has a strong history of ensuring their workforce is given the opportunity to talk to someone should anything not be okay through their Employee Assistance Line and Metro Hotel on Pitt is delighted to further strengthen this link and communication about mental health.
Events for the hotel team included coffee making classes, bread making experience, “sushi” rolling class, wine tasting, tea tasting. They will also be holding trust based games and talking a lot more about the stigmas behind this simple question.
AccorHotels has spent the last four weeks supporting the ‘RUOK’ campaign called ‘Thanks for Asking’.
The national awareness campaign, which kicked off in Perth on 11 August, saw a team from ‘RUOK’ travel to 12 various locations around the country where they illustrated the power of conversation and gave big old-fashioned thanks to Australians.
AccorHotels supported the ‘RUOK’ crew by donating a bright yellow bus, which carried them around the country.
Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath said the company was proud to support the tour with comfortable accommodation.
“A conversation could save a life.”
Simon McGrath, AccorHotels Pacific Chief Operating Officer
“Our hotels and staff are integral to keeping communities connected through great hospitality and we hope to share the power of a conversation in preventing suicide by inspiring our staff and guests to take the time to ask.”
Seen anyone else in the industry support ‘RUOK’ Day? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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