Three words can change lives

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS YOUR SAY - Samantha Wantling

ONE day a year we are en­cour­aged to ask some­one “R U OK?”

This day aims to in­spire and em­power ev­ery­one to mean­ing­fully con­nect with peo­ple around them and sup­port any­one strug­gling with life. Some­thing as sim­ple as a smile, a friendly face and a con­ver­sa­tion has the power to change and ul­ti­mately save a life.

Sta­tis­tics show we all know some­one who is strug­gling. De­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and men­tal ill­ness are all part of our vo­cab­u­lary. Never be­fore have we been more ed­u­cated for the signs to look out for, and while

R U OK? is cre­at­ing aware­ness around the fact that we do need to check in with each other, lis­ten to each other and help each other when we can, it re­ally is a con­cept that we need to prac­tise on a daily ba­sis.

While this may all sound like great ad­vice and so sim­ple to do, the truth is that it’s not as easy as it seems. Many gen­er­a­tions have been brought up be­liev­ing show­ing your feel­ings is a weak­ness.

I was bought up a great be­liever in sweep­ing things un­der the rug. The old “she’ll be right mate” mantra flows strongly through my veins. There is noth­ing wrong with this at­ti­tude but it hasn’t al­ways served me well.

Some­times, when the go­ing gets tough, you re­ally need to peel back the lay­ers and un­der­stand that it’s not al­ways go­ing to be right, that talk­ing to some­one is not a sign of weak­ness, but a sign of ul­ti­mate strength.

Ad­mit­ting you are not okay is the first step in truly un­der­stand­ing our com­pli­cated minds.

By hav­ing a na­tional day to re­mind us how we should ask some­one if they are okay, how we should re­act, re­spond and help, might mean peo­ple bat­tling their own demons will turn around and an­swer the ques­tion truth­fully when they are not cop­ing.

Get­ting pos­i­tive men­tal health is­sues into a wider com­mu­nity dis­cus­sion is not an easy thing to do and I am all for what­ever works. If it is as sim­ple, or as dif­fi­cult, as three sim­ple words to start a con­ver­sa­tion, then I ask R U OK?

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