R U OK? in Trucks & Sheds reassures industry you don’t have to be an expert to ask R U OK?

Tuesday, 14 May 2024, will mark the third year of R U OK? in Trucks & Sheds, an industry initiative dedicated to building a supportive workplace culture where colleagues feel confident looking out for each other.

Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds and R U OK? are calling on the road transport, warehousing, and logistics industries to bring their teams together for a workplace event, focusing on the 2024 theme, ‘Ask R U OK? – No qualifications needed.’

“When asking for feedback from the industry, we heard people didn’t feel qualified enough to ask, ‘are you OK?’, said Naomi Frauenfelder, Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds CEO.

“Our 2024 theme ‘Ask R U OK? – No qualifications needed’ aims to break through this stigma and reassure the road transport, warehousing, and logistics industries that you don’t need a qualification to check in with a colleague or friend. We want to build confidence across our industries to ask, ‘are you OK?’ every time we spot the signs a workmate might be struggling.”

Distribution Centre Manager at Coles, Vikki Venables, has shared her experience of a life-changing R U OK? conversation.

“One day, I got a phone call from my manager saying that a colleague didn’t seem like himself. I reached out, and he opened up to me that he had a plan to end his life that night. Together, we called the hospital, arranged for him to be with someone that night, and made an appointment for the next day,” Vikki explained, “I messaged him in the morning encouraging him to go to the appointment. He replied and let me know he had gone and would be going back again. We organised for him to have time off work so he could focus on getting better. I checked in with him once a week to see how he was going. When he returned to work a few months later, he thanked me for saving his life.”

Vikki wants those in the road transport, warehousing, and logistics industries to know we all have what it takes to ask R U OK?

“Next time you’re worried about a workmate, just check in. Don’t overthink it. It’s not about saying the right things; it’s about being available and ready to listen,” says Vikki. “I was no expert or counsellor, but I knew how to be a friend. It can, and does, save lives.”

Research has found when authentic, genuine R U OK? conversations happen, they do make a positive difference.

“We know in these industries, colleagues might not always be alongside each other, you might find yourself working different shifts, or you operate as an independent truck driver, but we can still cast our minds to what might be going on for our work mates,” said R U OK? CEO, Katherine Newton. “If you spot changes to their behaviour or routine, or you get that gut feeling something might be going on in their world, make the time to check in with them and to really listen.”

“Our research shows showing genuine interest and concern when asking R U OK? is the most important factor in helping people feel safe to open up,” continued Ms Newton.

Visit healthyheads.org.au/ruok for FREE resources to help you have an R U OK? conversation and plan your R U OK? in Trucks & Sheds activities.

If you or someone you know needs extra support, contact information for national support and services is available at ruok.org.au/findhelp.

Lifeline Australia provides free and confidential crisis support any time, day or night. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14, or chat online at lifeline.org.au.

13YARN is a free 24/7 service offering crisis support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Call 13YARN (13 92 76).

MensLine Australia is a free 24/7 service offering support for Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78 or chat online at mensline.org.au.

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For further information contact:

· Kayla O’Brien, Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds, Manager – Programs, [email protected] or 0432 175 718

· Annabel Bowman, R U OK? PR and Media Manager [email protected] or 0420 468 157