This year, the Student Representative Council (SRC) took R U OK? Day to a new level, transforming it into a vibrant week-long festival of activities.
Their aim? To remind us all to stay connected, look out for friends who are feeling down or isolated, and prioritise their own mental health.
The week was launched with a splash of colour on Monday – a lunchtime colouring-in session, backed by research that shows colouring can help us become more mindful. New Zealand researchers suggest colouring in can help us relax so much, that it can improve our study and work performance. Even more – doing it in a group can set the stage for meaningful conversations.
By Tuesday, the SRC was offering massages to all. Massages are known to boost mood, raise endorphins, and reduce anxiety and stress. This activity was a physical demonstration of the community's commitment to both physical and mental wellbeing.
Wednesday brought a hands-on stress ball-making session. Who knew that balloons and rice could be transformed into effective stress relief tools? In fact, research suggests they help calm the nervous system and provide a point of release for stress. Plus, it was another fun, communal activity, promoting conversation … and the girls made sure to clean up the inevitable mess.
R U OK? Day itself fell on Thursday. The girls donned and sold yellow ribbons for a gold coin donation and gathered in the Undercroft at morning tea for free hot chocolate and an R U OK? chat. Lunchtime was a hive of activity, with the girls making friendship bracelets, encouraging conversations and forging connections.
Friday saw the staff members whipping up cakes and other yummy treats with a yellow theme. This replaced the usual Friday staff meeting morning tea, allowing the School to donate its usual catering fee to the R U OK? cause, along with all the money collected by the staff themselves on the day.
R U OK? Day was launched in 2009 by Mr Gavin Larkin, whose own father had tragically taken his own life. His hope was to change behaviour Australia-wide and protect other families from the pain he himself had endured.
Today, R U OK? Day has grown into a national “conversation movement”, showing us all that the whole community can contribute to suicide prevention. It has a four-step conversation model:
- Ask R U OK?
- Encourage action
- Check in.
As the organisers of R U OK? say, “Suicide prevention requires the efforts of us all, not just the mental health professionals.” Their vision is a world where we are all connected and protected from suicide. So, why not visit their website? You don't have to be an expert to ask, “R U OK?”