GAWLER Suicide Prevention Community Group (GSPCG) has teamed up with youth mental health organisation Talk Out Loud Australia this year to promote R U OK? Day tomorrow.
GSPCG chairman Stuart Steele said the groups were joining forces to host an R U OK? Day window-front display at the Light electoral office, encouraging local residents to have honest conversations with each other about their mental health.
“The four main points that (R U OK? Day organisers) want to make are: that you ask someone a question (“are you okay?” or “how are things going?”), listen to the response, regardless of what it is, encourage people to get help, if they need it; and follow up,” Mr Steele said.
“If you have this big day where you can lower everybody’s anxiety about (asking the question), because there’s a promotional day about it, and you get a good response from that, you’re more likely to then have that conversation with someone else, and just make that a part of everyday living.”
Mr Steele said, through the GSPCG’s information and awareness-building exercises, parents, siblings and married couples appeared to be the local residents most keen to have candid conversations about mental health with those closest to them.
He said R U OK? Day provided the perfect opportunity for them – along with work colleagues, friends, sports team-mates, or anyone – to break through the unknown and initiate the conversation.
“It works two ways: if I want to ask you or talk to you about how I’m feeling, I don’t know how you’re going to react, and that makes me reluctant,” Mr Steele said.
“Alternatively, if someone comes to you with that information, you don’t want to act badly and, potentially, make things worse.
“The important thing is getting that relationship going where they’re understanding that your support’s there when they need it.
“It’s about getting that information to them, knowing that you’re there, you’re here to help, they can go (to get help) with you – it’s just that team effort.”
For more information about R U OK? Day, including tips on how to broach the subject of one’s mental health, visit www.ruok.org.au