R U OK? Day is Australia’s first national suicide prevention day of action and was founded in 2009 by a highly successful advertising executive, Gavin Larkin who was inspired to start the campaign as a personal project to honour his father, who took his own life in 1996.
Despite Larkin’s successful and lucrative 13 plus years in advertising he feared he was heading down a similar path to his father. A self-confessed ‘bit of a prick’ and unhappy with his own life Larkin decided to use his marketing intellect and high profile network for the greater good and start the campaign. Connecting with newspapers, television stations and a host of famous and influential celebrities, he created an instant success.
The day is dedicated to remind us to ask family, friends and our work colleagues the question “R U OK?” The campaign tagline is simple yet genius and was born from extensive research proving that checking in with someone can really make a difference to their mental health.
Sadly, in 2011 as the campaigned rolled out for its third year Gavin Larkin died of cancer, it was his wish for R U Ok? Day to continue well beyond his death and now six years on, Australians have wholeheartedly embraced the concept of checking in on the welfare of each other. Latest figures show 80 percent of Australian’s are aware of the day of action and one in four of those have participated in an R U OK? Day related activity.
Today marks the ninth year of the campaign and in continuation of Gavin’s legacy we hope you ask your friends, colleagues and loved one’s “R U OK?” today.