If you haven't, it's not too late.
Go here, to the official website to learn more about this initiative. There are pages about how to help someone, how to get help for yourself, what to look for. There are videos with personal stories, some people you will probably recognise, and may be surprised to see are Ambassadors for this movement. Surprised that they have been touched by depression or mental illness.
But there are pages of them - actors, businessmen, bloggers, sportspeople, students, men, women...anyone can be struck down by mental illness. 1 in 5 Australians will suffer some kind of mental health issue at some point in their life.
This video, of course is particularly special to myself, and to most of my blogging community - the story of one of our own, who lost her husband to suicide in January this year.
Lori's story has made so many of us aware, not just that mental illness is common (again with so many of us suffering it, we knew this). But the sheer number of men (men between the ages of 20 and 35 are one of the highest risk groups for suicide in this country - 78% of people who successfully commit suicide in Australia are men. Suicide accounts for 25% of all deaths of men in the aforementioned age group) battling alone, silently, feeling they simply can't reach out for help.
I wear Lori's purple band which says "SPEAK" on my wrist, and every day, I look at it and remind myself it is NOT ok for me to give in to this disease. It is NOT ok for me to check out and leave behind my family. 2000 Australians take their own lives each year. For every one successful, there are 20 who attempt. I will NOT be one of them. I can not be one of them.
The band serves not only as a reminder, but it introduced the perfect opportunity for me to speak to my 8 year old son about depression, mental health issues, and asking for help when he needs it. I have to face the fact that there is an incredibly strong family history of depression, on both sides of Alexander's family tree. I need to start NOW, in making him aware, breaking down the stigma, and teaching him to SPEAK.
As most of you have undoubtedly seen, there are a lot of bloggers who have chosen to draw attention to the RUOK movement and lend their voices to the cause. Many are participating in events.There is one in Brisbane here tomorrow, for anyone interested in going. From Maid in Australia and the lovely Bron:
And on Thursday, September 15, Brisbane and South East Queensland RUOK supporters will gather at Gloria Jeans at Indooroopilly Junction to make the occasion.It is free to attend, but please RSVP on Bron's blog to let her know if you're going to come along and support this day.
Gloria Jeans are putting on coffee, tea and snacks - because often the perfect time to ask 'RUOK' is over a coffee or tea. Kids are welcome, and there will be babycinos all round.
There are door prizes as well:
A signed copy of my book Happily Ever Parted (Surviving Separation and Divorce)
A copy each of The Bark Cutters and The Changing Land by Queensland author Nicole Alexander
One of two family (admit 4) passes to The Smurfs Movie courtesy of Sony Pictures Australia
and last, but definitely not least,
A basket of goodies from Lindt Australia valued at $50!!
Here is where it's at:
Gloria Jeans, Shop 8, Indooroopilly Junction. 100 Coonan Street, Indooroopilly.
To read some amazing, inspirational and sometimes heartachingly raw posts from bloggers, click on some of the links below. It takes courage and honesty to put your feelings out for the world, and knowing someone is reading, that maybe someone will be helped can make us feel it worthwhile.
I'm not going to write a new one. I've gone over it and over it in my head, and at this stage, I'm not sure it's constructive for me to do so. You've certainly had quite a few of those posts from me recently. Instead, I will link here to a few that are meaningful to me. If you choose to, I'd be honoured if you read them.
If you are really NOT ok (and you'll be surprised to learn just how many of us aren't), there are people you can call. Above is the number for Lifeline.
|Black Dog Institute|
|Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636|
|Kids HelpLine - 1800 55 1800|
|Suicide Call Back Service - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - 1800 659 467|
|Men are a high risk group in this country. This organisation is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1300 78 99 78|