The Works and R U OK? create a Google voice action to help people navigate tough conversations

The Works and R U OK? have launched a voice action on Google Home and Assistant devices, in which people can speak to R U OK?’s online resources with the command “Hey Google, talk to R U OK Mate”.

The tool was created to help people navigate conversations with a friend or family member they are concerned about. It consists of five different scenarios to help users role play R U OK? conversations.

The Google actions will provide tips on offering support and take users through R U OK?’s four steps: Ask “R U OK”?; listen; encourage action; and check in.

A campaign with World Champion surfer and R U OK? ambassador Layne Beachley will accompany the Google tool and run across social media channels.

Beachley said in a statement: “This is a great use of technology to reach those people for whom voice-assisted technology is becoming commonplace. 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 Works collaborated with R U OK? on a pro-bono basis.

The Works managing and creative partner, Paul Swann, said in a statement: “This year, R U OK? are calling on Australians to trust the signs that indicate it’s time to start a conversation with someone they’re worried about. We wanted to find a way to encourage more people to ask this potentially life changing question and a voice app seemed like an appropriate platform, particularly as usage of voice assistants is growing.

“Research showed us that while people often have good intentions to ask someone R U OK?, some of us hold back from asking because we’re not sure of how to react to their response. Our Action on Google gives helpful advice on when, where and how to ask through a series of interactive scenarios.”

R U OK? CEO, Katherine Newton, said: “We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference. But what we’re focused on is 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 confidence and ‘RUOK Mate’ has the potential to do that in a way that we have not seen before. Together, with support from organisations such as The Works, 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.”

If you need urgent help, please contact:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636


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