Health & Wellbeing

Know How To Ask, Know How To Help: There’s more to say after R U OK?

This year has taken its toll on many of us. Callum Pull looks at available resources to help ourselves and others this R U Okay day.

2020 has been a long and hard year. Many of us are out of work, and life as we know it has changed dramatically. Separation from the people and the activities we love has caused enormous mental hardship for many of us. That’s why remembering to always ask each other ‘R U OK?’ is more important this year than it has ever been before.

The R U Okay movement began in 1995, when a much-loved man, Barry Larkin, was far from ok. In 2009, less than fourteen years after losing his father, Barry’s son, Gavin Larkin chose to champion just one question to honour his dad and to protect people in the future, “Are you OK?”

The movement was born out of the idea that one conversation could change a life. The passion of Gavin Larkin has left a legacy that is now a national Conversation Movement, which raises awareness and strives to equip Australians with the skills and confidence to support those struggling with life.

This year, the national R U OK campaign is raising awareness with the message, “There’s more to say after R U OK?” Having a proper conversation with someone about how they’re going takes strength, and you need to ensure you’re ready to take those next steps if someone isn’t OK. You should ensure you’re ready to “ask, listen, encourage action, and check in.”

Here at the University of Newcastle, we are ready to ask each other ‘R U OK?’ It’s mid-semester, just as assessment tasks are heating up. Some of us will be having a hard time trying to balance our work and study commitments, made even worse by our social isolation. The University provides online resources to assist students which can be found online.

The online resources are designed to help students cope with Covid, and provides accessible tools which you can use to help you deal with things like “anger, anxiety, depression, stress, relationships, grief” and many others.

The University is promoting other online tools like the desk, UON Navigator: Taking care of you, Mindspot and eCliPSE UON. These are all online programs designed to help you with your physical and mental health. These resources can also be found on the above link.

For students living on campus, restricted to gatherings up to 10 outdoors, and so far away from their families, Student Living has ensured you’re always supported. First point of contact for anything you need help with are UoNs Residential Mentors. Every RM is there for you, students can shoot them a text or knock on their door when you’re needing a chat.

If your RM isn’t around, the Health and Wellbeing Coordinator will be. The Coordinator is here to support you whenever you need it. They’re highly qualified and best of all – free and confidential.

If you’ve asked your friend if they’re okay, its a good idea to know how to help if they tell you they aren’t. R U OK has published a pamphlet online that you can read and learn from, but here on campus, it’s important to know where to go. We have a UoN Counselling service, and an After-hours Crisis Support Line which you can call on 1300 653 007 or SMS 0488 884 165.

Know how to ask,
Know how to help,
There’s more to say after R U OK?

To find out more check out the R U OK website, and remember to ask R U OK?


Feature Image background by Trinity Kubassek from Pexels

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