Today is R U OK day, which aims to generate a national conversation on mental health and urges friends and family to check in and have a genuine conversation with each other.
This year the theme of the campaign is “I’m here to hear” which calls for people to create a safe space for conversations and make sure the people we ask “are you okay?” feel like they can say how they genuinely feel.
Speaking to NIRS News, Pitjantjatjara/ Yankunytjatjara/Pertame man and R U OK’s Stronger Together Campaign Manager, Steven Satour says there are three critical parts to having an honest and genuine conversation about mental health.
“Number one is trust, people need to know they are speaking to someone who has their best interests at heart, and genuinely cares about them.
We’re not encouraging people to start an R U OK conversation with someone they don’t know.
Authenticity is also a really important part of it.
And the environment, is it safe place to talk, is it somewhere that’s private is it comfortable, maybe it’s going for a walk or just sitting down and having a cuppa.
The environment can be fundamental to someone answering you honestly when you ask them are you okay.”
For some, asking are you okay easy, but having a frank and honest conversation about your own mental health can be difficult.
Mr Satour says while it can be difficult, opening up can be extremely beneficial.
“It’s going to be different for everybody, I’ll just remind people that nine out of 10 times that person is asking in a genuine capacity.
And maybe just really think of the benefits of sharing and connecting with someone.
We’ve had a tough couple of years, Covid, and everything that is happening now, and it’s okay to be vulnerable and let it all out, because you will feel much better.”
RU OK’s Indigenous campaign “Stronger Together” also offers alternative ways to ask “are you okay” with it’s campaign “I ask my mob, in my way, are you OK?”
Mr Satour says the campaign started after speaking to communities.
“As I was traveling around and the team was travelling around a lot of Mob were saying what’s the program and also I would want to ask questions but I wouldn’t say are you okay.
So there was a bit of a thought that are you okay is the magic world, when really its the intention and the genuine.
So how ever you would ask it, especially for blackfullas, which way or whatever it may be.
That’s what we really want to remind people, it’s the genuineness and the intent behind the question, not necessarily those words ‘are you okay.”
To find local R U OK Day events or access resources visit ruok.org,au
Listen to the full interview with Steven Satour here:
Images Supplied by R U OK