Often in society, the feelings and illnesses of the mind are squashed and are made to feel inferior. Mental illness is not seen nor spoken about within contemporary society enough. It is time to see mental illness for exactly what it is, a disease. We must stop viewing mental illness as a cop out excuse and respond with a question rather than a closing statement. Why not ask “What can I do to help you?” Adapting to the social constructs of a society is one of the most daunting prospects, especially for a person who suffers from mental illness. But why must we adapt? Why must we adhere to what is considered “normal” and why on earth can we never express how we feel? Whilst the answer might not be simple, the solution is, let’s break the rules and start to break the stigma around mental health. Depression and the onset of mental health issues affect 1 in every 5 Australians and is the deadly silent killer, with suicide being the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44. A phone call, a question and the knowledge that someone is willing to listen is all it takes sometimes. Getting the help individuals need to feel cherished, heard and supported has never been easier, with the support for a not for profit organisation called ‘R U OK? R U OK Day is designed to engage Australians to connect with people in the community they may have concerns about, encouraging them to seek further help and to follow up to ensure support is being provided.
R U OK? is an Australian non-profit suicide prevention organisation, founded by advertiser Gavin Larkin in 2009. It revolves around the slogan "R U OK?", and advocates for people to have conversations with others in order to rationalise their feelings and to know that they are heard and respected. The ‘R U OK?’ Foundation is a nationally recognised suicide prevention charity designed to empower and inspire individuals around the world to connect with one another on a deep level. The prospective vision of the foundation is to live in a world where it isn’t taboo for someone to express their feelings openly and freely to another person in fear of rejection and judgement. Their motto, “a conversation could save a life” speaks of the simplicity in making another person’s day brighter just by simply asking them, ‘are you okay?’. Three simple words could change a person's life and often mean the difference between choosing life and choosing to end one's life and break the hearts of those they love.
Mental illness cannot be seen, it is invisible and hides behind even the happiest of faces. Even if you believe that everyone around you is just fine, 3 simple words to start a conversation with those you love could be the soul saving words for another.
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