R U OK? Day
Did you know that 8.6 Australians die every day by suicide? That’s more than double the road toll.
Established in 2009, R U OK? is an Australian non-profit suicide prevention organisation. The charity encourages all of us to notice the signs of mental health struggles in friends, family, and colleagues.
R U OK? Day, celebrated this year on Thursday 8 September, is a very significant event on the College calendar. It serves as a reminder to start a conversation that could change a life – not just on R U OK? Day, but every day.
To start the morning, students were invited to participate in a Yoga session. Evidence suggests that Yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-benefit approach to improving mental health, so it was fantastic to see our girls giving it a go.
In Homeroom, students explored some of the ways to ask someone if they’re OK, and how to respond if someone says they aren’t OK. The girls were also given some practical tips on how to navigate conversations around mental health; listen, don’t judge, encourage action, and regularly check-in.
During recess and lunch, our Mental Health Ambassadors made their way around the College grounds, striking up conversations with students and checking in to see if they were OK. This provided a fantastic opportunity for the girls to interact with others they perhaps normally wouldn’t.
We had a chat with Wellbeing Captain, Karin, to discuss the purpose of the exercise.
The Mental Health Ambassadors and I were inspired to make our way around the College at recess and lunch to chat to our peers to remove the stigma around conversations about mental health and make asking if someone’s OK more normalised.”, says Karin.
“The responses we got were all super positive, especially the younger girls who really liked chatting to the older girls. It felt great talking to girls who I normally wouldn’t as it felt like we were building a stronger College community spirit. My main takeaway from the day was that no matter what, it’s always a good time to ask someone if they are OK. The person on the receiving end really appreciates it, and it could completely turn around their day.”, adds Karin.
To further raise awareness and spread the key messages, R U OK? Day resources were shown on our College Vivi screens throughout the day. Signage and posters were also displayed around campus. Not to mention, the girls enjoyed some R U OK? inspired menu items in the café, including cute yellow cupcakes. Our café staff got right into the theme too!