In an age when emotional insecurity and social isolation can be huge challenges, R U OK?Day acts as a reminder to check in with friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors and others with the purpose of promoting community cohesiveness and helping to battle issues with mental health.
History of R U OK?Day
The inaugural R U OK? Day was held in 2009, the same year that the R U OK? organization was formed in Australia through founder Gavin Larkin. Larkin understands first hand the impact mental health issues can have on a family, as his father died by suicide in 1996. More than a decade later, Larkin felt compelled to work to help others, promoting mental health initiatives and establishing the slogan behind the day: “R U OK? – a conversation can change a life.”
Listed as a Harm Prevention Charity, R U OK? works in collaboration with many different mental health professionals including those who specific to suicide prevention, as well as government agencies, corporate leaders, educational institutions, community groups, student groups and many more.
The concept behind R U OK?Day is simple, revolving around the idea that more people can be checking in with others, especially related to their mental health. The notion is that connection within communities can make a huge impact on the lives of all of the people in it, particularly those who are at risk. In addition, R U OK?Day offers resources to help folks access tools that can be used in workplaces, schools, with friends and so much more.
How to Celebrate R U OK?Day
Wondering how to get involved with R U OK?Day? It’s easy! Consider some of these ways to get started with connection and participation in the day:
Check in On Someone
The simplest concept of R U OK?Day is basically just to check in with someone. Perhaps it’s a friend that has been a bit quiet lately, a co-worker who seems down or an elderly neighbor who spends a lot of time alone. Those who aren’t sure what to say can ask the question, “are you okay?” and then listen to hear the answer.
Check Out the R U OK?Day Resources
Those who aren’t sure they would know what to do or how to help if someone isn’t okay can head over to the R U OK? website to get access to a number of resources that include videos, practical guides, support tips, special guides for LGBTQ+ people and more. The website even offers some of their resources in several different languages.
Share R U OK?Day with Others
An excellent way to make R U OK?Day even more effective is not only to practice it personally but also to raise public awareness about the issues of loneliness and the impact the community can have on it. Post on social media, share a story and get the word out for how simple it can be to help.