Every year one in five people will experience a mental health issue and approximately 65% of these people will not seek help or treatment. It’s a staggering statistic, and one we are being encouraged to remember today on R U OK? Day and World Suicide Prevention Day.
Today Gold Coasters are urged to check in on family, friends and colleagues and ask the simple question – “Are you ok?”.
R U OK? Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis said it is also a great opportunity to reconnect with someone you may have lost touch with. “As a community and as individuals, we’re stronger together and it’s important that we make more time for the people we care about,” Rebecca said. “Use today as an opportunity to start a conversation with someone you were once close to, as well as reach out to anyone you’re worried about. Then, make a commitment to be there for one another throughout the year.”
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R U OK? Conversation Expert Professor Nick Glozier said once you’ve asked the question it’s essential to listen and not judge what someone wants to share. “Once you start a conversation and a mate opens up, don’t rush in or leap to conclusions,” Nick said. “It’s important that you listen to what they have to say and guide the conversation with more open questions. Don’t try and fix their problems – or provide the answers – but help them to identify what they can do to better manage the load.”
This morning a bunch of Gold Coasters showed their support for the R U OK? initiative by taking part in a OneWave paddle out at Burleigh Heads. OneWave is a non-profit surf community that fights to break the stigma surrounding mental health with a simple recipe of salt-water, surfing, good mates and lots of fluro. They are planning on holding regular Fluro Friday paddle-outs at Burleigh Heads which all Gold Coasters are invited to attend. For more information visit: facebook.com/onewaveburleighheads/