Countless local and worldwide campaigns calling for equality of LGBTQ signify that they are not yet entirely accepted by society. As a result, these vulnerable people are still being bullied and segregated in ways that may appear inhumane at times. We have heard heartbreaking stories wherein some even lead to the loss of life.
Organisations like “R U OK?” hope that these horrific incidents of people taking their own lives will end soon. One of their main priorities is the LGBT community in Australia, intending to connect one person to another so they can be each other’s support during difficult times.
Australia’s LGBTQI community suicide rates are alarming, wherein 35% of those above 18 years old attempted to commit suicide while 45% considered doing it. A 2016 study by the LGBTI Health Alliance shows that 16% of LGBTI youth tried to take their own life compared to those not LGBTI.
These statistics manifest a cry for help that needs an urgent response to decrease the numbers and save more lives. With this, R U OK? is taking steps to raise more awareness and encourage support from the community.
Providing Support to LGBT Community in Australia
The suicide prevention charity urges Australians to support those who are struggling through tough times. Those who experience stress, financial pressure, relationship breakdown, loss, and other depressing situations need more attention. What worsens the problem of the LGBT community is the discrimination that results in depression and anxiety. The feeling of being worthless may make them consider suicide or move them to harm themselves.
As we live in a society where some people are bullied because of their sexuality, R U OK? made it a mission to “inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world.” By doing that, no one will be left behind. No one will feel unimportant and unloved. R U OK? encourages people to be a shoulder to lean on by reaching out to family and friends who may be at the lowest point of their life.
R U OK? has been there to back up the LGBT community in Australia in different ways. In past years, the organisation joined the parade during the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, where they also sponsored a spectacular float. This is their way of expressing their support for mental health and suicide prevention.
In 2020, aside from their presence in the said Mardi Gras, they also created the “U Matter to Me” online hub. Said hub provides resources and real-life stories showing how you can reach out to those in need in a meaningful and genuine way.
How R U OK? Can Change One’s Life
Breaking the stigma associated with mental health and LGBT will make people feel that they can open up about it. It would be easier for them to seek help. They would also be more willing to express what’s in their mind.
R U OK? does not merely urge the community to support LGBT, especially those who undergo stressful situations. They also provided valuable resources and accessible information to those who need it.
People who intend to help can also find guides on reaching out and providing support where it is needed authentically. The free resources will increase one’s awareness and confidence to help as they can easily recognise the signs of a suicidal person
The organisation provides physical resource distribution, easy access to digital resources tailored for LGBTIQ+ communities, events and visitation to regional areas, and many more. They also offer an Ambassador Program for trained volunteers who share their experiences.
Apart from those mentioned, they conduct regular researches and evaluations to ensure that the organisation will continually improve in catering to the needs of transgender people. You can also check more about how R U OK? works and how you can be part of it.
Taking time to ask “Are you OK?” will decrease one’s feeling of the lack of belonging. It will also bridge the gap when one feels the absence of a sense of connection. It can make one feel loved and special as someone is looking out for them.
R U OK? is the guiding light for the LGBT community in Australia as they open a new world of acceptance and belongingness. With the support they give, they are changing the lives of the LGBT community one person at a time.
Do you know someone who needs help with mental health and suicide prevention? Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp. You can also reach out to the Find Help page of R U OK?