When was the last time you asked someone “are you okay?”
When we wake up in the morning we may ask our loved ones how they are.
When we arrive at work or school we ask our friends and colleagues how they are.
And when we go shopping we may be welcomed at the register with a friendly “how are you?”
If you think about the typical answers, it’s always “good thanks” or “not too bad”, and more often than not it will be followed by a mention of the weather – just small talk.
But today is R U OK? Day.
A day to raise awareness about mental health and suicide; to learn the signs of when someone may not be ok; and an opportunity ask a friend, colleague or loved one if they are okay (and being prepared and ready to listen if they aren’t).
Today staff from CatholicCare, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Catholic Development Fund came together to talk about R U OK? Day.
Left: Rhyannon Elliott discussing mental health and self-care. | Right: Staff enjoying morning tea for RUOK? Day.
Our Acting Manager of Marriage and Relationship Education, Rhyannon Elliott, facilitated the event, discussing mental health and the importance of self-care – and running several activities on meditation and mindfulness.
‘What we know from Beyond Blue is that one million Australians this year are living with depression, and one in five women and one in eight men will experience depression at some point in their life. On top of that, two million Australians this year are living with anxiety. And today, six Australians will die from suicide,’ says Rhyannon. ‘So when this is the state of play, it becomes very important to have days like R U OK? Day.’
But instead of only thinking about others, Rhyannon discussed the importance of first checking in with ourselves and making sure that WE are okay. Because how can we be of help to others if we ourselves need help?
Rhyannon suggested that in order to think about self-care, we can consider reversing the Golden Rule - “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – where instead, we treat ourselves as we would treat others. ‘More specifically, treat yourself as you would treat your best friend; think about what you would give to your best friend and how you would talk to your best friend, and do that for yourself,’ says Rhyannon.
Rhyannon also led a guided meditation with the group as everyone sat in silence with eyes closed – yet another method of self-care. You can try this meditation yourself using the Mini Meditation steps below.
We would like to thank the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne who hosted the event, providing a tasty morning tea and a space to come together. And we hope that today we can encourage you to ask someone if they are okay, and to set aside time for yourself for some enriching self-care.