Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today was "RUOK Day". The purpose is to raise awareness of suicide prevention, and introduce small kindnesses such as asking someone who is stressed, troubled, in a crisis, etc if they are OK.

Then, of course, you have to be prepared to listen - really listen, not just stand by looking at your watch with one foot poised for take-off. That's the hard part.

You'll never know how much you can do for someone in a crisis situation, until you listen to what they have to say.

The three objectives of RUOK Day are:
(1) Help employees and students feel good about themselves by connecting with, and supporting others.
(2) Increase connection and support within groups.
(3) Through reducing stress and depression, help reduce Australia's suicide rate.

Stress and depression are the largest contributors to lost productivity in Australia, directly costing employers an estimated $10.11 billion a year (Medibank 2009).

The R U OK? at Work initiative is intended to help combat workplace stress by urging employers and business leaders to actively encourage positive, meaningful conversations between staff and ensure they know who to turn to when they’re not OK.

Every workplace can choose how they would like to run R U OK? at Work, all we ask is that when employees take time out for a coffee or a break on Thursday September 15, they're encouraged to start a conversation with someone they care about.

Interestingly, just a few weeks ago I was told - officially, and in writing - that under our employment conditions, there is "no entitlement to a morning break". This was in response to a number of other questions I asked ... I didn't even raise that issue, only those of parity and natural justice. Is it any wonder there are increasing instances of stress in our profession?

I really really wanted to make a few phone calls today, and just let a few people of my acquaintance know that its people like them, with their bullying, intimidation, inflexibility, self-serving selfishness, pettiness and abuse of their position are the reason why there are so many work-place related suicides.

I didn't make those phone calls. But I have third-party documentation witnessing that a number of workplace bullies read this blog - ironically so they can use it as fodder for their whining, trite complaints. It's possible that I'll be told to remove this posting. Also possible that I'll get yet another reprimand, and maybe worse. Guess what? I still figure that my employment arrangements do not negate my right to have an opinion and express it publicly. Last time I looked, Australia was still a democracy.

I will await the inevitable, and share the outcome.

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