The Southbanker with a simple life-saving message
For local Southbanker Elvis Martin, being a community ambassador for R U OK? is a role that is very close to his heart.
After dealing with some very challenging experiences at a young age, it is this very question that sticks with him as the one that changed the trajectory of his life.
“When I was in hospital for a really long time after trying multiple attempts on my life, I had a chat with a nurse that changed my life,” Elvis said.
“I was able to relate and connect with her because she was just there and allowed me to talk as she listened.”
Through these conversations, Elvis was able to turn his life around and use his story to share the importance of being there not only for loved ones, but also for colleagues, neighbours and anyone who crosses your path.
“By asking someone if they are okay, you are not interfering with their life [but instead] you are allowing that person to open up if they are going through a tough time,” Elvis said.
“Asking someone if they are okay could save their life, and it is the simplest thing any human being can do.”
Elvis’ message comes ahead of R U OK? Day on Thursday, September 8 and it is a day to remember how important this simple question can be for someone going through a tough time.
R U OK? is a harm prevention charity and this year’s theme is Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed.
The theme comes as recent research has found 38 per cent of Australian respondents felt it wasn’t their role to get involved in other people’s business, despite more than 80 per cent of respondents saying asking the question genuinely made a positive difference.
The confusion surrounding if it is one’s place to ask someone else if they are okay is something Elvis is passionate about clearing up.
“Asking someone a simple ‘R U OK?’ makes them feel like they belong, and someone cares about them, and a conversation can save a life - I can say this from my own experience,” Elvis said.
Following his move to Australia ten years ago, Elvis said living in Southbank for the past couple of years has been really positive for his life.
Now living at Australia 108, he has seen the way buildings are changing and creating community and belonging through the creation of apps that connect residents with one another.
“It is very important to feel like you belong and are not alone when going through a tough time, and buildings and platforms like this are really creating a safe place for people,” he said.
“I love Southbank, its energy and the people are great. I feel a real sense of community here.”
Elvis also told Southbank News that he wants to encourage local Southbankers to connect with locals through community groups, and to not hesitate in asking a neighbour if they are okay, while also being ready to listen.
For more information: ruok.org.au