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R U OK.? Trust me, We really, really do Care

Welcome dear Readers,

Today I just want to take a couple of minutes to talk about 'R U OK Day', a day set aside for the second Thursday in September to remind people to check on their family and friends. You know, see if they're doing ok mentally and help them out if they're struggling.

Set up by a non-for-profit suicide prevention organisation, it's aim is to reduce the impact of suicide and mental illness in Australian society.

Now, I absolutely applaude any measures taken to help people who are struggling. Having been through the darkness and sense of hopelessness that comes with mental illness, I know that any form of meaningful conversation and caring can in some way help you see out of the darkness.

So, a once a year reminder is great yeah? I mean it must be a good thing, at least helping in some small way. But what does it really mean? What is the bedrock that the need for RUOK Day sits upon? I guess what I'm asking is why do we need it?

And that's the kicker folks. We need days like this because for the other 364 days (oh, and 365 every leap year) we, as a society, dont really give much of a damn about those around us who are mentally collapsing. Just give me my soy latte, my quinoa salad and don't look so bloody down in the mouth mate. Don't you know, no one likes a sad sack!

And that, my friends, really winds me up. Gets me bloody angry actually. We, as a community, care so little about each other that we need to be reminded once every revolution around the sun that it would be a good idea to 'see if your family or friends are ok'. That's a pretty sad indictment on our society.

So, for anyone out there hurting, the message is to just stay strong for 364 days, because every second Thursday in September someone will come up and ask you if you are ok. And they will really, really mean it. I know, isn't that great?

Just don't go on for too long yeah, it might bring them down. Ruin their day.

But to those who are currently hurting, please know this. Unfortunately, I know what you're going through. I have two things to say to you.

Firstly, this pain? I get it. It sucks. No one can see it, but that doesn't make it any less tangible. The hurt, the sense of despair in your heart is REAL.

But secondly (and I think more importantly) please know this. This Pain Shall Pass. You were here before the hurt and you will be here after. And some day down life's highway you will look in your rear vision mirror, with the pain and sorrow you currently feel discarded like so much garbage by the side of the road. Only you will be left, stronger and wiser. Oh, and I guess just that little bit older too.

Thanks for reading and remember, Be Nice to Each Other Every Day of the Year


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