New campaign asking Canberra's first responders 'R U OK?'


Released 27/11/2019

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman today launched “Are they Triple OK?” in the ACT, a new campaign to increase peer and social support for police and emergency services workers and volunteers across Australia.

The campaign has been developed in response to Beyond Blue’s nationwide Answering the call; study.

Minister Gentleman said "Canberra's police and emergency services put themselves in tough situations every day to keep our community safe and deserve the best possible tools and support."

"This campaign puts recommendations from 'Answering the call' into action. Are they Triple OK? provides tips and resources to encourage life-changing conversations at home and in the workplace to encourage early intervention and help-seeking.

"I'm encouraging police and emergency services workers and their families to use the new resources, keep an eye out for one another and ask 'are you OK'.”

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said "I am extremely grateful to the emergency services personnel who have shared their stories to support the campaign. Each and every one of you is making a significant contribution and we; share your commitment to helping your peers navigate life’s ups and downs, as well as the specific challenges you encounter on the job.”

‘Are they Triple OK?’ includes storytelling from ACT Policing, ACT Fire and Rescue, ACT Ambulance Service, ACT State Emergency Service and ACT Rural Fire Service and models the life-changing impact an R U OK? conversation can have.

ACT Policing Detective Senior Constable Jonathon Turkich is one of five personnel from ACT who have featured in the nationwide campaign. Turkich spoke about the subtle signs colleagues and family should look for that indicate it could be time to check in.

“I think there’s a lot of black humour in the emergency services, not just policing and I think that can be a coping mechanism, but you get that feeling that sometimes that black humour isn’t humour anymore, it’s what they’re feeling inside.”

Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said Answering the call found police and emergency services personnel backed colleagues with mental health issues.

“Overwhelmingly, Beyond Blue’s landmark Answering the call report tells us that first responders want to support colleagues who might be dealing with mental health issues – that; they don’t see these as a sign of weakness. ‘Are they Triple OK?’ takes this finding and equips people to reach out, connect and support one another.”

ACT Ambulance Service Communications Officer Sarah Gray wants the campaign to empower colleagues and family members to take that step and ask the question if they spot the signs someone might be struggling.

“Someone that’s going through a tough time themselves, might not recognise it in themselves or they might not want to say anything, so to have someone else say to you, “Are you OK?” gives them the opportunity to open up.”

“They might not say yes straight away, but it builds that trust and a week later they might come back and say, actually no, I’m not.”

Adam Greshaw, Station Officer, ACT Fire and Rescue added, “Worst case scenario, they know that someone out there does actually care for them. They might not need it in that situation, but down the track that might help. We're always there to help. Let’s make sure we help each other and ask, R U OK?”

Free digital and printable resources are available including a conversation guide on how to ask the question and navigate the conversation if the answer is, “No, I’m not OK”. The resources are designed to foster a supportive work culture and address the high rates of self-stigma identified within the services.

Resources are now available on the R U OK? website at www.ruok.org.au and will be regularly refreshed to address feedback and promote long term behavioural change.

R U OK? are grateful to The Pinnacle Charitable Foundation, whose funding has supported the development and delivery of this campaign.

For support at any time of day or night, call Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.

Media kit including campaign vision, stills and radio grabs available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-8vERW91HimQD5Ep2cDcD1DB3BYxI5_A?usp=sharing

About ‘Are they Triple OK?’

  • ‘Are they Triple OK?’ is an R U OK? campaign that aims to increase levels of peer and social support for police and emergency services workers nationwide.
  • The campaign responds to key recommendations in Beyond Blue’s report into the mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s police and emergency services workers.
  • The campaign targets the support networks around our police and emergency services workers, both at home and in the workplace e.g. supervisors, volunteers, friends and family.
  • ‘Are they Triple OK?’ provides free digital and printable resources.
  • Resources include storytelling from police, fire, ambulance and SES employees and volunteers to ensure the voices of lived experience are heard and to model the life changing impact an R U OK? conversation can have.
  • Campaign resources will live on the R U OK? website at www.ruok.org.au and be distributed through the existing communication channels of each service.

About R U OK?

  • R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to inspire and empower everyone to
  • meaningfully connect with friends, family and colleagues who might be struggling with life.
  • R U OK? Day is an annual national day of action, held on the second Thursday of September and a reminder that every day is a day to start a conversation.
  • R U OK? Day was launched in 2009 by founder and adman Gavin Larkin who tragically lost his father to suicide in 1995. Larkin (who died of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2011) wanted to spare other families the grief his family endured.
  • A spark of an idea has since become a national movement aimed at encouraging friends, families and workmates to ask the question of anyone they are worried about, in a genuine and meaningful way.
  • Conversation tips and crisis support contacts can be found at www.ruok.org.au

- Statement ends -

Section: Mick Gentleman, MLA | Media Releases

Media Contacts

Name Phone Mobile Email

James Webber

(02) 6205 7402

0466 023 084

james.webber@act.gov.au


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