National suicide prevention charity R U OK? will visit Dubbo as part of Youth Week on Saturday, April 8.
The visit will be championed by R U OK? ambassador Steven Oliver who will talk with local students about the importance of checking in with mates and loved ones or anyone who might be struggling with life.
The event is supported by Dubbo Regional Council, TAFE NSW, headspace, Base Art Inc and the Ochre Opportunity Hub.
Oliver is probably best known for his cheeky role in ABC’s sketch, ‘Black Comedy’, in which he starred and also co-wrote. While making people laugh is second nature to him, Oliver is also a passionate voice for suicide prevention, having lost family and friends himself over the decades. He is looking forward to reaching out to the Dubbo community about ways to support anyone who might be going through tough times.
“Can’t wait to get to Dubbo and connect with the locals because the older I get the more I realise that life is all about connecting. Connecting through a laugh, a chat, a handshake, whatever. That’s what I love about the R U OK? message, It’s about connecting with someone who might be feeling disconnected and it’s letting them know, ‘Hey, I see you and you matter,’ because sometimes in our lives we feel like we don’t and no one should ever feel like that,” he said.
R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher said it was so important for R U OK? to visit regional cities like Dubbo.
“This year our focus is to reach and make an impact on regional and remote communities where we are acutely aware that suicide statistics are on the rise. Having the support of a dedicated R U OK? ambassador like Steven Oliver just makes the visit all the more meaningful,” he said.
Base Art Inc’s vice president Lionel Wood will emcee the TAFE NSW Student Hub event and sell raffle tickets to win a signed portrait of Steven Oliver.
The #cantevenask event will be held at:
TAFE NSW Dubbo Student Hub (A Block) Myall Street, East Dubbo.
Time: 11am until 12.30pm
TAFE NSW Student Engagement Officer Brigid Palin is thrilled to have Oliver visit the Student Hub and reach out to the students on such an important subject.
“TAFE NSW are huge supporters of the R U OK? ethos and we constantly encourage our students, teachers and the Dubbo community to check-in on their family, friends and colleagues. We offer quality support through a number of vital support services including counsellors and Aboriginal and Disability support staff,” she said.
"When a community is struck by tragedy we all need to remember to look after each other. The people of Dubbo have experienced a number of tragic events in the past few months, so it’s important we come together this weekend and make a commitment to start these important conversations which can be life-changing.”
headspace Clinical Leader Ann- Maree Hartley will also speak to the students about resources available in their Dubbo office.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, youth suicide is concerning, but living in regional and remote Australia means that our local rates are always significantly higher than the national average,” she said.
“Young people are great advocates for their mates, we see it all the time at headspace Dubbo. If a friend is having problems, it can be their friend who is the first one to know and walk them through our door.”
Dubbo Regional Council’s Youth Officer Jason Yelverton said having Oliver visit Dubbo as part of Youth Week was a great thing.
“Steven Oliver is someone who really resonates with Dubbo youth, the fact that he’s visiting the city to discuss a much needed message during youth week, is a win for the whole community.”