Hon Helen Morton MLC

Hon Helen Morton MLC

Former Minister for Mental Health; Disability Services; Child Protection

    Giving thanks for the power of conversation

    11/08/2015 11:30 AM
    • Suicide prevention organisation R U OK? launches its Thanks for Asking campaign
    • 2015 theme recognises the value of conversation in helping people through rough times 

    A new campaign which promotes the importance of regular and meaningful conversations with the aim of preventing suicide has been endorsed by Mental Health Minister Helen Morton.


    Speaking today at the launch of this year's Thanks for Asking campaign by suicide prevention organisation R U OK?, Mrs Morton said acknowledging and responding to someone who asked if you were okay was a great first step in engaging in conversation.


    "There are people in the community willing to reach out and give support, but it does require each person to acknowledge, engage and accept the offer of support," the Minister said.


    "Saying 'thanks for asking' is a great next step after someone asks you if you're okay.  It is important people know how significant the simple act of engaging in a conversation can be to help get through difficult times."


    R U OK? is encouraging people to write a thank you note to people who have taken the time to have a conversation with them at critical points in their lives.  To spread the word R U OK? representatives will travel across Australia in a bus to visit schools, workplaces and community groups, finishing in Sydney on September 10 - World Suicide Prevention Day.  In Western Australia, the tour will include stops in Rockingham, Mandurah, Albany, Esperance and Kalgoorlie-Boulder.


    Mrs Morton said on average, one person lost their life to suicide every day in Western Australia in 2012.  In 2013, suicide accounted for 332 deaths in WA - more than double the road toll.


    The Minister said suicide prevention was a key State Government priority, with $25.9 million allocated over the next four years to implement a new strategy - Suicide Prevention 2020: Together we can save lives - that aims to halve the number of suicides in 10 years.


    "A key part of any suicide prevention strategy is keeping open the conversation about mental health with friends, family, and colleagues.  Actually talking about these issues is the first vital step in getting what may turn out to be life-saving help," she said.


    Fact File

    • Suicide is the leading cause of death for 15 to 44 year-olds in Western Australia
    • The most common and significant factor in suicide is mental illness which is present in up to 90 per cent of people who die by suicide
    • To view Suicide Prevention 2020 visit: http://www.onelifewa.com.au

    Minister' office - 6552 6900