2020 has certainly been a challenging year, thanks mostly to COVID-19 and the lockdown that is not only affecting us here in Australia but also around the world. As such it is important we ask people, friends, relatives, and even strangers, R U OK?

With today being R U OK day, a day to highlight the importance of talking to friends, relatives, even strangers and asking if they are ok given mental health is something we all can struggle with on a daily basis.

R U OK last year released a voice technology resource to help Australians navigate an “R U OK?” conversation via the Google Assistant and we thought it would be a timely reminder again to showcase it. It provides a valuable community resource in these troubled and trying times which we have all gone or continue to go through.

Personally, my partner and I have been through a lot with the sudden loss of our nephew who committed suicide in June. He was only 19 and would have been 20 three weeks later. Suicide is something that has touched most of us at some stage or other.

Anyone who might be worried about family, friends or colleagues can access the interactive conversation scenarios via your Google Home or Google Assistant enabled smartphone or device by simply saying “Hey Google, talk to RUOK Mate”.

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton says it’s important to deliver the R U OK? message to people in ways that keep pace with changing technology.

We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference. We are focused on building confidence in people, so they know when and how to have an R U OK? conversation.
It’s vital we utilise new ways to build that confidence and ‘RUOK Mate’ has the potential to do that in a way that we have not seen before. We hope to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life.

World Champion surfer and R U OK? Ambassador Layne Beachley is supporting the project and is excited about the practical nature of ‘RUOK Mate’.

This is a great use of technology to reach those people for whom voice assisted technology is becoming commonplace,” and “Having struggled myself it wasn’t until I was asked ‘Are you OK?’ that I recognised I needed support.

I’m proud to champion this resource that will increase the confidence and readiness of Australians to have meaningful conversations that can change lives.

The RUOK? Mate interactive conversation scenarios are available via your Google Home or Google Assistant enabled smartphone or device right now so why not ask “Hey Google, talk to RUOK Mate”.