“ARE you OK?” may sound like a simple question, but it has the power to change someone’s life.
Last month the Glenorchy community took part in the annual “RUOK? Day”, which encourages people to partake in meaningful conversations with family, friends and colleagues.
The aim of the national initiative is to prevent suicide by connecting regularly with anyone who may be struggling with life’s challenges.
To mark RUOK? Day, the Glenorchy Youth Taskforce hosted a promotional event on the lawns in front of the Glenorchy City Council Chambers.
A free barbecue, hot drinks and snacks were provided, while Cosgrove High School students brought along cupcakes they had freshly baked.
A group of Glenorchy PCYC members donned sumo suits, which drew a crowd and there were also “free hugs” on offer.
GYTF member Dakoda Leary said it was important to have a conversation with friends about mental health.
“It’s such a big issue that people seem uncomfortable talking about it,” he said.
“The GYTF would like to use this opportunity to encourage people to break down those barriers and get the message out there that mental health is a big issue and it deserves attention.
“People need to care for each other and realise that everyone has a role to play in beating the stigma attached to mental illness.”
Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston said the GYTF had identified mental health as its top priority for action in 2015.
“It’s encouraging to see young people having conversations about mental health and taking it upon themselves to act on the issue,” she said.
“Council has a number of strategies aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people in our city and raising awareness of the programs and services available to our community.”
Liberal Member for Denison Elise Archer MP attended the event to enjoy a cupcake and a free hug and said while it was fun, the underlying message was a serious one.
“It is often the little things that can make a big difference to someone’s day,” she said.
“I commend the Glenorchy Youth Taskforce for organising and delivering a fun afternoon of activities for members of the Glenorchy community, particularly our young people.
“Often, we do not appreciate that asking such a simple question can have such a significant impact, and could even save a life.”
The event was supported by the Mental Health Council of Tasmania, alongside mental health organisations, the Phoenix Council, Anglicare, headspace and Pulse.
For more information about RUOK Day go to www.ruok.org.au.