Asking the question

About 70 people turned out to start a conversation and ask ''R U OK?'' PICTURES: CARA-LEE ALLEN

By Mitchell Clarke

It’s the simple question which could save a life.

During a national day of action to prevent suicide, the team at APM Employment Consultants had a mission to connect communities by starting conversations by asking, ‘R U OK’?

Cara-Lee Allen and John Gallagher organised a free breakfast on Thursday 12 September at PB Ronald Reserve in Pakenham, inviting the community for a coffee and a chat.

“It’s a cause close to our hearts, not only personally but also professionally,” Ms Allen said.

“As APM employment services is a disability employment service, we come in contact daily with clients who are struggling with mental health conditions, some of which still believe there is a stigma that comes with it.”

R U OK holds a national day of action each year on 12 September, dedicated to reminding everyone to check in with one another and to remember every day of the year to support people who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs.

“We really want people of the community to realise that it is ok to not be ok and that the more it is spoken about the more help can be offered to those who need it,” Ms Allen said.

“Our aim was to make people aware that there are people in the community that care about them.”

About 70 people attended the breakfast with representatives attending from Men’s Shed, Pakenham Library, Living and Learning Centre as well as several local businesses and community members.

Generous donations from Marketplace Bakers Delight, Woolworths and Anytime Fitness helped to make the event possible.

In the last 12 months, statistics from R U OK found that 51 percent of Australia wished someone had asked them if they were okay.

41 percent of Australians didn’t ask the question in the last year because they were unsure of the signs, with R U OK suggesting people experiencing relationship and health issues, work pressures, financial difficulty or the loss of a loved one should all be checked in on regularly.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.


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