September 12, 2019

R U OK? calls on the Melbourne hospitality industry





The nationwide R U OK? ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ visited Melbourne this week joined by R U OK? Ambassador and celebrity chef Miguel Maestre, co-host Barry Du Bois and actor Steve Bastoni.

The Melbourne community joined together at the South Melbourne Markets, a produce hub for local restauranteurs, to learn more about navigating a conversation with someone you’re worried about.

The ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ comes in the wake of research released by R U OK? that found:

·      Nearly two-thirds of Australians (63%) are not confident they know the signs that someone might be struggling with life.

·      Of those surveyed, 41% hadn’t asked someone if they were OK because they weren’t sure they knew the signs.

·      However, there is hope, with almost 1 in 2 (49%) believing they’d be more confident starting a conversation if they knew the signs.

The Tour is travelling around 14,000 kilometres visiting every state and territory and engaging 24 communities in an educational experience.

Having been in the hospitality industry for over 18 years, Miguel spoke to the importance of the R U OK? message in what is an exciting but demanding workplace environment.

“Hospitality can be an intense environment, time pressure and stress to get every dish perfect,” said Maestre.

“We often feel ashamed to discuss with people if we have dark thoughts, or we’re worried about talking if we’re struggling. That’s why it’s important that the people around us ask the question if they notice the signs we might be struggling.

Every one of us can make difference by asking R U OK? It’s important we check in with our work family and ask the question of someone we might be worried about.”

R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton says the Tour aims to build confidence in recognising when someone might be struggling so that Australians ‘Trust the Signs, Trust their Gut and Ask R U OK?’.

“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference. But what we’re hearing, is that people aren’t sure when the right time is to have an R U OK? conversation,” said Newton.

“Signs can be subtle changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour. A loved one might tell you they’re having difficulty switching off or a mate might be withdrawing from social situations like not turning up to training. We’re encouraging people to look out for those cues. We can also make a conscious effort when we know someone is going through a significant life change such as job loss, relationship breakdown, study pressure or perhaps becoming a parent.”

“By taking the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ around Australia, 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.”


The Melbourne community also heard from R U OK? Ambassador and media personality, Barry Du Bois, ambassador, R U OK? Ambassador and actor Steve Bastoni, and Sam Pinzone, R U OK? Community Ambassador and professional chef, who will share his lived experience working within the hospitality industry.

Importantly each event on the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ highlights local mental health support services, volunteer organisations and Suicide Prevention Networks, ensuring those attending are aware of the existing services available in their community for the times an R U OK? conversation is too big for friends and family.

The ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ will complete its journey in Sydney on 12 September to coincide with
R U OK?Day, a national day of action marked with events around the country.

Ambassadors, including Brooke Blurton, Barry Du Bois, Travis Collins, Barry Conrad, Casey Donovan, Bianca Dye, Dan Holdsworthy, Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, Rachael Lynch, Miguel Maestre, Ben Ross, Steve Bastoni and Steve ‘Commando’ Willis, have thrown their support behind the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’.

R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to learn the signs, download a practical toolkit and start regular meaningful conversations throughout their communities when its needed. More information on how to get involved can be found at:

For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


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