R U OK? Day fosters and promotes a culture across our community in which we seek to ask our friends whether they truly are ok. It also guides us in the action we need to take if and when we find that someone is not ok.
The Somerset community celebrated R U OK? Day Thursday 12 September. We began with a picnic in the quad, which included plenty of games, picnic blankets and music. The social, relaxed and technology-free environment not only promoted open communication and the opportunity to ask "R U OK?", but also resulted in many students saying that they would like a picnic in the quad every day!
Following, the picnic, André Vasquez and I were quickly escorted to the Sue Robert’s Centre for the Performing Arts for an interview with Channel 7 about the significance of R U OK? day in the eyes of a Somerset student. Eager and excited, Andre and I both found that our reflection on the significance of understanding mental health and its associated stigmas deepened our appreciation of checking-in on our friends and family.
The days events then continued, with the Franklin House Charity, LIVIN’, taking time to come and educate the Year 10s on their ethos, ‘IT AIN’T WEAK TO SPEAK’. We were fortunate to have Co-Founder Casey Lyons join us and provide us with some background about the organisation. He introduced our presenter, Lauren who shared her own valuable personal experiences and helped us with some strategies on how to identify signs that someone, or ourselves, might be struggling with mental health. The LIVIN message was powerful and undeniably made the point that we should not be afraid to discuss our mental health. The stigma associated with mental health needs to be removed; and asking ‘R U OK?’ is a good place to start.
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