- The ‘some of y’all… and it shows’ meme is taking over Twitter 6 Years Ago
- ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ begins season 2 on a cheerful note Today 11:49 AM
- Climate change memes are disrupting the feel-good ’10 year challenge’ Today 11:48 AM
- Mysterious Washington Post parody predicts Trump’s resignation Today 11:42 AM
- YouTube cracks down on challenges, pranks Today 11:04 AM
- Upskirting will soon be illegal in England Today 10:45 AM
- Jake Paul calls Keemstar a ‘piece of trash’ for ‘body-shaming’ Erika Costell Today 10:18 AM
- Sprint promises to stop selling location data after outcry Today 9:53 AM
- Kirsten Gillibrand announces presidential bid—and Al Franken diehards are salty Today 9:49 AM
- How to watch ‘Married at First Sight’ online for free Today 9:43 AM
- There are already memes for ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Today 9:00 AM
- Did Laura Loomer get duped into believing Muslims got her suspended from Twitter? Today 8:44 AM
- Here’s what we know about the Ice Sphere and Ice Storm in Fortnite Today 8:18 AM
- Who is Jigsaw, the villain of Netflix’s ‘Punisher’ season 2? Today 7:25 AM
- Hulu’s ‘Fyre Fraud’ plays along with the long con Today 7:00 AM
The Australian suicide prevention campaign has gone global online, with users checking in on their social network contacts today.
For Americans, Sept. 11 is a day of national empathy and remembrance.
For Australians, it’s Sept. 13, a day when residents ask each other if they’re OK.
In 1995, Australian businessman Gavin Larkin’s father committed suicide. Larkin, who some described as an “alpha male,” learned of his father’s lifelong depression only after his death. The experience transformed Larkin and sent him on a quest for ways to help others at risk of suicide before it was too late.
In 2009, he finally achieved his goal with the creation of a national suicide prevention campaign that simply asks: R U OK?
“Could R U OK? and that question being asked by the right person at the right time have saved my father?” Larkin told ABC Australia at the time.
Three years later, one man’s campaign to encourage empathy and concern for the people we love has become a national day of awareness, with endorsements from Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, and other Australian celebrities. The R U OK Twitter and website offer statistics on suicide awareness and ways to help. There’s even a hotline, 1-800-RUOKAYDAY.
The campaign, with its simple message and honest concern, seems to be effective. “I sent an all staff email today promoting #ruokday,” said Twitter user Aaron Hussey. “I’ve never had so many people ask me if I’m ok.” On Tumblr and Instagram, supporters wore T-shirts and challenged their followers, “Who will you ask?”
On Reddit, a thread promoting the campaign racked up over 1600 comments as redditors asked each other how they were doing and shared their own experiences with suicide.
Part of the groundswell of support for the campaign arises from the remarkable story of its founder. Just a few months after the first RUOK day was held, Larkin learned that his son had a brain tumor—and that he himself had cancer.
Despite the odds, Larkin and his family stayed positive and hopeful. While his son recovered, Larkin passed away one year ago.
“Gavin Larkin was a remarkable man who knew just how important having a conversation was,” former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tweeted earlier today.
“You have made a difference to a world of several billion people,” one commenter wrote on Larkin’s blog after the announcement that Larkin had passed away. “Few of us will ever do that.”
Photo via GNT Magazine/Tumblr
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.