Every year in September we take a moment and ask a simple question to start a meaningful conversation about mental health: R U OK?. R U OK’s vision of a ‘world where we’re all connected and protected from suicide’ resonates in today’s world.
Experts indicate that global events like COVID-19 have had an impact on mental health and wellbeing, and statistics show 1 in 2 Australian adults will face of mental ill health at some point in their lives. So now more than ever, we need to keep the R U OK? Message alive every day. Andrew Arnold, InfraBuild Reinforcing Cavan’s Account Manager is a fierce mental health advocate and reflects on the meaning of the R U OK? initiative below.
Hi, I am Andy. I Live in Adelaide with my wife and four kids and work as an Account Manager for InfraBuild Construction Solutions at Cavan.
After losing my little brother James to suicide in November 2014, I saw firsthand the ripple effect and the grief that suicide brings to our communities. In the years that followed, I decided that as hard as the conversations may be, and despite the societal pressures discouraging men from sharing their thoughts and feelings, the only way to make a difference is if we all speak up. Together we can change the stigma around mental health issues and suicide.
This is why I’m so passionate about R U OK? and other mental health initiatives. The team at R U OK? Day spread the message that ‘A conversation can change a life’. They set out to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with those in their world who may be struggling with life.
Use these four steps and have a conversation that could change a life:
- Ask R U OK?
- Encourage action
- Check in
An important thing to remember is you don't need to be an expert to reach out - just a good friend and a great listener. Having a family, working full-time, being involved in my church community, and numerous hobbies I understand it's hard to find time for things. However, I’ve learnt it doesn’t take long to share a post on social media, reach out to a friend, or listen more carefully when someone wants to have a chat. Life has always had its challenges, but I think since COVID arrived, we are seeing new challenges and struggles in lots of different aspects of our lives.
As humans we need to remember to be kind to each other as you don’t know what someone else might be going through. Learn the signs and how to ask R U OK? And remember its okay, not to be okay.
Together we can make a difference.
At InfraBuild, our employees have access to the I am Here program. It is a continuous learning and support program focused on developing employees to become ‘Mental Wellness Ambassadors’ and signpost existing help and support services in the workplace or community.
Our employees also have access to independent counselling through our Employment Assistance Program provider Converge International.
Some other groups doing work in this space are:
Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide.
Lifeline is a non-profit organisation that provides free, 24-hour telephone crisis support service (T: 13 11 14) in Australia. Volunteer crisis supporters provide suicide prevention services, mental health support and emotional assistance, not only via telephone but face-to-face and online.
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Beyond Blue is an Australian mental health and wellbeing support organisation. They provide support programs to address issues related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses.
Their Mission: Create a brand that makes mental health relatable and that people can build an enduring relationship with. Promote positive mental health and wellbeing for people through early education and awareness programs. Empower people to be open, vulnerable, and engage in conversations. Increase help seeking behaviours. Reduce the risk of suicide in the community.
It’s Okay, Not To Be Okay https://www.itsokaynottobeokay.com.au/
It’s okay, not to be okay, aims to bring the important conversations of mental health, suicide prevention and grief to the community. We do this by hosting events, running social media campaigns and selling merchandise. We encourage people to break the stigma by wearing our message and being a part of this important conversation.
Mates In Construction https://mates.org.au/
MATES in Construction, Mining and Energy deliver strategic, innovative, evidence-based suicide prevention and mental health programs to the building,
Article published on Wednesday, 08 September 2021