In the steady wind down for the year, mental health issues can catch up to those of us who have been on autopilot for the past six months, ignoring or downplaying feelings of isolation and despair. Some have said that it is as though 2020 has been the fastest, slowest, smallest, and biggest year they have ever experienced. The Get Up and Go Garema gathering, which took place in February, set the many attendees up for good mental health practices in a year like no other, by encouraging people to speak up when they don’t feel okay.
R U OK? Day took place on Thursday, 10 September, and The Western NSW Local Health District supports this national mental health initiative by urging everyone to feel comfortable and confident to ask, “are you ok?” every day, because more meaningful conversations reduce feelings of isolation and increase a sense of communal belonging.
Director of Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, Jason Crisp said, “You don’t have to be an expert to support someone going through a tough time, you just need to be there, be able to listen without judgement, and take the time to follow up.”
“We want everyone to feel confident they know the signs someone might need support by listening to what they’re saying, seeing what they’re doing or knowing what’s going on in their life. Whenever you notice a change, no matter how small, we want you to trust your gut and start an R U OK? conversation,” Jason said.