Okay day creates conversation

September 2, 2021 BY

Support: Members of the R U OK? community travelled across the state in 2019 during the Trust the Signs Tour. Photo: SUPPLIED

NEXT Thursday, 9 September, people are being encouraged to start meaningful conversations with friends, family and loved ones with a simple but important question.

‘Are you okay?’

R U OK? Day is aimed at getting Aussies to talk amongst each other about their wellbeing and this year’s theme is ‘are they really OK? Ask them today’.

Community ambassador for R U OK? Day, Megan Barrow, is sharing her own lived experiences of mental health issues to inspire others to talk.

Since childhood, Ms Barrow has lived with anxiety and in early adulthood she developed depression and agoraphobia.

“I describe it as a fear of fear itself. Your brain just cycles into thinking anything could harm you,” she said.

“At my worst I was stuck on the couch and when I was home alone I would just be terrified to move thinking ‘I’m going to collapse or die if I move’.”

Now 50 years old, Ms Barrow said she’s mentally healthier than she’s ever been after going through the “incredibly difficult” process of recovery and holds public presentations for R U OK? aimed at teaching people how to ask the question and share the real impact it can have.

“I very much love the message of R U OK? and delivering it, that the more we check in when we’re well, the more we notice when people are out of character and maybe slipping into not being well,” she said.

“Connection and having a conversation with someone really can make you feel mattered, and that you’re cared about and that can be the difference between slipping into crisis or critical thinking.

“Don’t underestimate the power of a conversation.”

R U OK?’s website offers a range of resources outlining how people can ask the question using the organisation’s four-step method to ask, listen, encourage action and check in, as well as information on how to prepare for a chat.

To find out more, visit ruok.org.au.

If you or somebody around you needs support, you can call Lifeline’s 24/7 hotline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au. You can also visit beyondblue.org.au or call 1300 22 4636, and help for young people is available at kidshelpline.com.au or by calling them on 1800 55 1800.

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