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R U OK? floats its message in this year’s Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
Feb24

R U OK? floats its message in this year’s Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade

CREATED ON // Friday, 24 February 2017 Author // Andrew Shaw

Suicide prevention and mental health will be highly visible at this year’s Mardi Gras Parade as R U OK? launches its first float.

One hundred choreographed dancers, staff and ambassadors will march behind R U OK?’s float on Saturday, March 4 as the mental health charity spreads its message.

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher believes Australians should be reaching out and supporting anyone who’s going through a tough time.

“Checking in with friends and family who may be struggling has to be something we all commit to doing more of,” he says.

“Lives literally depend on it, and Mardi Gras is a great night to remind everyone to keep asking the question.”

R U OK ambassadors actor/comedian Steven Oliver and radio presenter Bianca Dye will spur on the dance troupe as they shimmy and shake their way up Oxford Street on its busiest and most flamboyant night of the year.

“We live in a world where some people are bullied for their sexuality,” Oliver says.

"Asking 'R U OK?' shows compassion. If more people knew they mattered, there’d be less heartache.

“I sometimes think we've forgotten how powerful a conversation can be. We're meant to connect, and doing that face to face is still the best way. We shouldn't doubt the power within each and every one of us that can be ignited just by asking someone if they're ok.”

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

If you want to talk to someone, call QLife LGBTI counselling on 1800 184 527. QLife has online chat at www.qlife.org.au – phones and chat operate 5.30pm to 10.30pm, 7 days a week.

image: Steven Oliver.

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Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of QP [queensland pride magazine].

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