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R U OK? Reach Out Today And Start The Conversation

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley is urging Australians to reach out to their mates on Thursday and check how they're coping.

It's R U OK? Day - a national day organised by the suicide prevention charity of the same name that encourages friends to ask anyone who might be struggling that simple question.

Ms Ley says it's about reaching out to family, friends and colleagues to make sure they're okay.

"Starting a conversation could make a real difference to someone's life," she said.

Small acts of kindness like listening without judgement and providing support could make all the difference to someone struggling with a mental illness, she said.

"It could help save a life."

About 2800 Australians die from suicide each year but Ms Ley says many of those deaths could be prevented.

The R U OK? charity will on Thursday mark the national day with an event in Sydney's Bondi.

Ms Ley is asking people to learn and acknowledge signs of mental illness and not be afraid to tell loved ones help is available.

R U OK? Day comes two days before World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia www.mmha.org.au.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service available from www.vibe.com.au.

AAP

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