Larger than life, you can’t miss it – is precisely the point of the “RU OK?” giant lettering on the shop front of Priceline Pharmacy in Yass today.
Missing a possible sign, however small, that someone was not okay is the legacy which can haunt any family, friend or colleague that knows someone who has committed suicide.
For the team at Priceline “RU OK? Day” is a poignant reminder of the loss of a colleague which has driven their commitment to promote mental health and suicide prevention assistance.
Pharmacist Rachel Crisp is encouraging everyone to check in with each other and ask RU OK?”
“A few years ago, we had one of our colleagues, Andy Tu, commit suicide. Today is a big reminder for us that mental health can happen to anyone. It’s a day to check in with friends, colleagues but beyond today, just keep an eye on people, watch for the signs, so if they’re just not their normal self, ask them if they are OK and if they say that they’re not, know what to do about it.”
Pharmacist Andrew Douglas says while it is a tough issue for his team, he is proud that his fellow pharmacist Rachel Crisp has taken the lead to ensure they actively support the “RO OK?” initiative each year. Andrew added this year has been incredibly challenging for everyone.
“This year, the focus is not just asking the question, but the follow-up questions and continuing it, so it’s not just a one-day thing. With COVID as well it’s probably more important than ever to check in with people and come together in our workplaces and our homes and schools.”
Rachel warned it could be anyone you know facing a mental health battle.
“It doesn’t discriminate. They could be successful people; they could be homeless people; they can be anywhere in between. Even though they might have a great job and earn lots of money, it doesn’t mean that they are mentally OK. It could be mums and dads, single parents, anyone who might be struggling a bit so keep checking in on them and seeing if they are OK or if there is something you can do to help.”
Rachel is encouraging everyone to check in with the “RU OK?” website which has plenty of resources to help people skill up to start a conversation that could make a difference.
“Know where to get help, show them that there are different lifelines such as Beyond Blue, PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression). There are lots of organisations out there for people who are suffering from their mental health.”
Lifeline 13 11 14, 24/7
Kids Helpline (24/7) 1800 551 800
Mensline (24/7) 1300 7899 78
Headspace (for 12-25-year-olds) 1800 650 890
Suicide Call back service 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression)1300 726 306