The Weight of a few Words

R, U, O, and K.

4 letters aren’t much. But they can be enough to stop someone from making the devastating decision to end their own life.

Like the fingers on an outreached hand, these 4 letters can save someone from forever falling through the floorboards of their momentary fragility. With the curvature of a thumb, a question mark can ensure a secure grasp by providing context and genuine concern.

Figurative speech aside, actually saving a life with one’s hands may require a prestigious vocation; but there is still great potential in our everyday vocabulary.

Unfortunately, when it comes to asking for help, the words can be harder to find…

Honesty can be a hurdle; a face, a smiling facade. But bouncing over and breaking through, a matter of simply asking someone how they are.

I know because sadness is a season I’ve survived several times. Most recently, I’ve relocated my life twice – overseas and now to another sate. Such momentous moments can stir emotional earthquakes and dust like desperation. But when it all feels like a bit too much, calm has always come through the most casual of conversations.

I’m lucky to have family and friends. And I want you to know that starting a life-saving conversation requires you to be neither. You only need to care – a capacity we all have.

I know because, in addition to this post, other pieces of my writing (such as my book) have received heartfelt responses from complete strangers. I may never see them smile, but at least someone out there still gets that luxury. I know I’m thankful to people that I’ve never met.

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This is the kind of weight that words can have: Impactful when spoken, but also too heavy to get out at other times.  So, this September – be it through an online message, phone call, letter, or direct conversation – save another’s life and your own. Ask and answer the question, R U OK?


Do you or a loved one need help? Find help now.

R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging and empowering all people to ask “are you ok?” of anyone struggling with life. Our vision is a world where everyone is connected and is protected from suicide. Find out more:

Tags : mental healthR U OK? Dayruokday?suicide

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