CALL TO LOOK OUT FOR YOUR MATES

Central and North Burnett Times - - COMMODITIES - Matt Brand

NEW road­side bill­boards plas­tered across re­gional high­ways are urg­ing mo­torists to ask a sim­ple ques­tion – RUOK, Mate?

The prom­i­nent signs are a joint ini­tia­tive be­tween NSW Farm­ers and the R U OK? Foun­da­tion and aim to pro­mote the im­por­tance of men­tal health aware­ness in re­gional NSW.

The R U OK Foun­da­tion’s cause aligns with NSW Farm­ers’ ef­forts to en­cour­age the state’s re­gional com­mu­ni­ties to openly dis­cuss men­tal health is­sues, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing times of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters such as drought and floods.

The bill­boards are an­other way of get­ting our mes­sage across.

In 2005, the NSW Farm­ers as­so­ci­a­tion took the un­prece­dented step of

The RUOK mes­sage is that ‘a con­ver­sa­tion could change a life’...

set­ting up the NSW ru­ral men­tal health net­work fol­low­ing a drought sum­mit in Parkes.

The net­work gath­ered all rel­e­vant or­gan­i­sa­tions to­gether to work in a co-or­di­nated fash­ion in the pro­vi­sion of men­tal health ser­vices.

Sup­port­ing the R U OK? Foun­da­tion was the next log­i­cal step for NSW Farm­ers and we be­came a sup­porter of the foun­da­tion in 2012.

The R U OK mes­sage is that “a con­ver­sa­tion could change a life” and in 2013, more than five mil­lion Aus­tralians par­tic­i­pated on R U OK? Day – the ma­jor­ity by hav­ing a face-to-face con­ver­sa­tion.

Of those who par­tic­i­pated, 58% strongly agreed or some­what agreed that par­tic­i­pat­ing on R U OK? Day made them more likely to have mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions.

We want to help R U OK? en­cour­age the state’s re­gional com­mu­ni­ties to openly dis­cuss men­tal health is­sues; pro­mote the im­por­tance of mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions and in­form our mem­bers and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties about how they can ac­cess help if they need it.

I am very happy to be do­ing some­thing pos­i­tive for our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties by tak­ing the mes­sage into the bush that it is im­por­tant to have that con­ver­sa­tion and check that your friends, fam­ily and col­leagues are okay.

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