The Morrison Government encourages reaching out to loved ones for an important conversation about mental health this R U OK? Day. This year’s R U OK? Day theme is “Are they really OK? Ask them today.”
R U OK? Day has been a local practice since 2009, but as residents face more health challenges this year, there has been more attention brought to the act of reaching out more due to the lockdowns’ significant impact on mental health.
According to research, roughly 22% of Australians don’t reach out to check on the people around them because there hasn’t been an occasion where they felt someone needed their help. However, a regular check in, or just starting the conversation – even when someone is not visibly distressed or in crisis – can make a real difference.
Opening up lines of communication between friends and family is the easiest way to show support in the face of a global health crisis.
As much of the country faces restrictions to lower the risk of COVID-19, there are numerous issues that test the resilience of Australians as individuals and collectively. Whether it’s fear for physical health, uncertainty around businesses, employment or school, sadness over missed things like a holiday, a birthday or a wedding, or grief over lost loved ones, residents carry a significant emotional load.
Constant restrictions have caused feelings of depression, anxiety, and a heavy sense of hopelessness, so reaching out and allowing oneself to be sought out will help ease the weight.
The Australian Government is proud to support R U OK? Day and has committed $2.1 million to the work of R U OK? between April 2017 and 30 June 2022.
Mental health and suicide prevention are a national priority. The Morrison Government has invested a record $2.3 billion in the 2021–22 Budget for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. A record $6.5 billion will be spent in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2021–22, doubling since 2012–13.
Help is available. Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through the following help lines:
Visit the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health, online. More information and resources to help support the conversation around mental health are available at the official R U OK? website.
Original story found on the Australian Government Department of Health website. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.